Peter King: 'I Absolutely Buy Dallas’ Interest In Johnny Manziel'

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Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

If Jerry Jones really wants Manziel, he’ll probably have to trade up for him. And with the current state of the Dallas defense, that doesn’t seem like the smart play. And the Cowboys front office seems to be all about making the smart decisions right now.

From the release of All-Pro, but overpaid, defensive end DeMarcus Ware. To the one-year underpaid prove-it deals for both free agent defensive lineman Henry Melton and Anthony Spencer, Dallas is set to make all the right moves in 2014. And sacrificing the future to move up in the draft for a position that’s already filled doesn’t fit into that new mentality. But there is always the Jerrah factor to consider. At the end of the day, Jerry makes the final decision on all picks.

And it was Jones himself who learned a valuable lesson back in 1998. With the eighth overall pick in that draft, Jerry and the Cowboys passed on troubled Marshall receiver Randy Moss. Despite his own scouts calling Moss him the greatest individual prospect they had ever seen. Despite the need at the position. Despite the team’s fans, his own scouts and Moss himself all wanting him to play in Dallas, Jones passed on the talented prospect due to his “off-the-field” incidents and character issues.

The young wideout fell to Minnesota at No. 21. That year, Moss proceeded to set the NFL rookie-touchdown record (17), get his first of seven Pro Bowl bids, and win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. He played in the NFL for 14 seasons and is a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer.

That lesson learned by Jones helped Dallas obtain similarly troubled Oklahoma State wideout Dez Bryant in 2010. Now, Bryant is considered by many to be a top-tier NFL wide receiver.

And what exactly was that lesson learned? Regardless of the his history, any outside distractions or even team need, you don’t pass on talent. And there is little doubt that Manziel is talented. There may be questions about his small frame. There may be questions about his style of play and how that will translate to the NFL. And there may be questions about what he does off-the-field. But there is no question Manziel is a gifted, talented athlete. And Jerry knows that.

And like Moss, Johnny Football wants to play in Dallas. If, by some miracle, Manziel falls to No. 16; Jerry won’t make that mistake again. That is unless there is a more talented player available on their board. And there just might be.

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