I've written pretty extensively here at Inside The Star about my non-desire for a QB at #4. I made it pretty obvious with this post, but I took it a step further with a fun hypothetical regarding re-visiting the 2014 Draft Class. I am so against a quarterback that I even drew up a trade scenario that allowed us to move back and still not take one!
Do I believe that Tony Romo is going to play forever? Of course not. I don't even buy Jerry Jones' recent comments that he'll play the next 4-5 seasons. I'm not advocating a “win now” mode, I just don't see the point in taking a quarterback. It seems like a bit of a panic move after 2015. My argument really is a simple one. The 4th Overall Pick is our biggest offseason resource… why are we going to devote it to someone who, hopefully, will not play at all in 2016?
I finally found a reason why.
I've talked about on my weekly podcast, The RJ Ochoa Show, how I hate when people say, “Tony Romo hasn't played 16 games since 2012.” That is true only in the most literal sense, because Romo played 15 games in both 2013 and 2014 (he actually played 17 counting the playoffs in 2014).
This subject matter had me curious, so I did a little research. How many “starting opportunities” has Tony really missed? And how many has he missed relative to other NFL quarterbacks with similar “potential starting” opportunities?
Understand that a “starting opportunity” is quantified as just that… an opportunity to start. So for a quarterback of Romo's caliber that's 16 games a season, more if he's in the Playoffs. For Peyton Manning last year that number was 19, and he missed 7 of them. Make sense? Good.
Here we have… our reason for considering a quarterback at the 4th Overall Pick.
There's no denying that Romo's collarbone is a bit fragile. The games that Tony missed in 2010 and 2015 alone allot for 14% of his overall potential starts (22 out of 160 games). Among a sample of ten different NFL quarterbacks Tony has, by far, the lowest percentage of “potential starts” reached.
Ben Roethlisberger is the only guy who is kind of close to Tony here, but numerically what aids him is that he hasn't missed large chunks of a season like Romo. Big Ben misses a handful of games pretty consistently, but that's it. Unfortunately that isn't the case for Tony Romo.
What's particularly alarming for me are the number of starts for Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco relative to Romo. Consider that all three of those quarterbacks first started in 2008. At that point Tony already had 28 starts under his belt (in 28 opportunities, mind you).
Due to the number of playoff games those quarterbacks have been in, their consistent health, and Romo's injuries… Tony now only has two more starts than both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Joe Flacco actually has started more games than Romo despite being 28 games in the hole when he started his career.
All three of them actually have more starts than Romo since 2008 (when all four were established starters). Cue the sadface.
Prior to this research I was adamantly against a quarterback with the 4th Overall Pick. Last week's NFL Combine went a long way for the defensive prospects in the draft, and the pro-QB hype seems to have reached its lowest point this offseason.
As much as I would love (believe me, I really would) to just ride that wave and begin daydreaming about Jalen Ramsey, Joey Bosa, Myles Jack, or whoever… there is a very real truth to the notion that Tony Romo's injury history extends further into history than just 2015.
I firmly believe that we should not take a quarterback at #4, but where a door used to be shut completely and locked from the inside… there now sits a door with the smallest possible creak open to the possibility of a quarterback. Ugh.