Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A

Manziel Becoming A Cowboy in the 2014 Draft Makes ZERO Sense

I love interacting with the members of Cowboy Nation. Nothing ruins an intelligent discussion about the Cowboys like finding a member that believes the Cowboys will draft Jonathan Paul Manziel aka Johnny Football. It’s not going to happen. It doesn’t make sense here or in any alternate universe. The very mention of it makes me wonder if that person even watches Cowboys football. I don’t care if they have footage of Jerry Jones massaging Manziel’s feet as he eats lunch on campus. Let it go! (That mental image may have been a little creepy and for that I apologize.)

Let’s start with the simple fact that the Cowboys issues the past two seasons have been on the defensive side of the ball, primarily due to injuries. There’s also the nature of Romo’s contract that indicate he’ll be around for a while. His herniated disk surgery went fine, according to reports, and Romo’s expected to be prepared for organized team activities in May. Why would you darewaste a pick by drafting a project QB in the first round?

Players taken in upper rounds of the draft are expected to contribute immediately. It’s why there’s so much backlash regarding the Gavin Escobar selection in the second round last year. Had Escobar been drafted in a lower round or had numbers comparable to other rookie tight ends like Timothy Wright, Jordan Reed or Tyler Eifert, he wouldn’t have been labeled a bust this season.

2013 NFL Rookie Tight End Stats

Player Name, Team

Draft Position

Receptions / Yards / Touchdowns

Timothy Wright, Tampa Bay

Undrafted

54 / 571 / 5

Jordan Reed, Washington

3rd Round, 85th Overall

45 / 499 / 3

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

1st Round, 21st Overall

39 / 445 / 2

Mychal Rivera, Oakland

6th Round, 184th Overall

38 / 407 / 4

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

2nd Round, 35th Overall

36 / 469 / 4

Gavin Escobar, Dallas

2nd Round, 47th Overall

9 / 134 / 2

This upcoming draft should be focused on defense, defense and defense. The focus of every defense is putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. 15 players in the NFL had 11 sacks or more and of those 15 players, there were: 5 linebackers, 9 defensive ends and 1 defensive tackle, the Cowboys Jason Hatcher. Carolina, New Orleans and Kansas City had two players represented on this short list of 15.

The amount of defensive ends on this list shows why that position takes priority over defensive tackles. That’s why I wouldn’t be excited about the Cowboys drafting Stephon Tuitt, Will Sutton, Louis Nix or Aaron Donald. They would be solid draft picks and contributors, but pressure comes off the edge and replacing the aging and oft-injured DeMarcus Ware is a priority.

I haven’t crunched all of the numbers or watched videos. I don’t study or follow the NCAA football season. I looked at the leading defensive ends from the list of NCAA 2013 Sack Leaders. That list was narrowed to those with physical measurements comparable to the NFL 2013 Sack Leaders. Perhaps it’s a short and shallow, non-scientific method, but that’s basically what they do at the NFL combine.

2013 NFL Sack Leaders (Defensive Ends)

Name / Year

Team

Height / Weight

Sacks

Robert Quinn / 3rd

St. Louis

6′ 4” / 264

19

Greg Hardy / 4th

Carolina

6′ 4” / 290

15

Mario Williams / 8th

Buffalo

6′ 6” / 292

13

Cameron Jordan / 3rd

New Orleans

6′ 4” / 287

12.5

Chandler Jones / 2nd

New England

6′ 5” / 265

11.5

My short list of NCAA candidates begins with Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas, 6′ 5”, 245) or Marcus Smith (Louisville, 6′ 3”, 252). Smith led all defensive ends with 14.5 sacks and Jeffcoat finished 2013 with 13 sacks. There’s a reason the name Jeffcoat sounds familiar. His father Jim Jeffcoat played for and won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys.

For all the national sports media coverage following Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina, 6′ 6”, 274), he finished the season with 3 sacks. It is also doubtful that Clowney reaches the Cowboys in the 2014 NFL draft.

The NCAA Sack Leader is Trent Murphy with 15 sacks, but he’s listed as a Stanford linebacker. While Murphy is 6′ 6″ and 261 pounds, I’m not a fan of teams drafting a player in the first round with the goal of  teaching him a new position.

As we get closer to the NFL combine, the picture will become clearer and collegiate players will stand out. The Cowboys first priority should be a pass rushing defensive end in the first and possibly second round. A top rated defensive tackle in the second round would be acceptable too. That would allow them to draft a safety in the third round and an offensive guard in the fourth. All positions where improvement is needed and could be found immediately in the draft.

I won’t say that Manziel would never become a Dallas Cowboy. Who could’ve imagined we’d ever have Ryan Leaf on our roster? Stranger things have happened, but he won’t be on our roster because we drafted him. It’s not even a pipe dream, it’s a pipe nightmare. So please, if you want to sound like an intelligent, knowledgeable member of Cowboy Nation – Don’t envision, support, or mention any possible scenario or reason why the Cowboys will draft Manziel in 2014.

Let it go.

#Go Cowboys

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Johnny Football Johnny Manziel

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