Should the Cowboys draft a quarterback every year?
We analyze the concept of a NFL franchise, like the Dallas Cowboys, drafting a player at the quarterback position every year.
When it comes the Dallas Cowboys, there are many differing opinions about how America’s Team should approach the NFL Draft. That goes for every franchise in the league. But the fact that the quarterback position is the most vital in all of football is something most agree upon. So why do the Cowboys so rarely draft any?
In fact, the Cowboys haven’t drafted a quarterback since 2009. (Stephen McGee, Texas A&M, 4th round) And before that, it was Georgia’s Quincy Carter in the second round of the 2001 draft!
Actually, there have been a total of four quarterbacks drafted by Dallas since Troy Aikman was selected first overall in 1989. Those include Steve Walsh in 1989 (supplemental draft), Bill Musgrave in 1991, and the aforementioned Carter and McGee. Since Aikman’s selection, now 27-years ago, the Cowboys have yet to draft another quarterback in the first round.
The Cowboys current starting quarterback, Tony Romo, was famously signed out of Eastern Illinois as an undrafted free agent back in 2003. Romo’s various predecessors following the retirement of Aikman in 2001 were acquired via free agency or a trade, were undrafted free agents themselves, or they were fresh off a baseball field.
So why don’t the Cowboys draft more quarterbacks? Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones explained why during an interview about the team passing on Texas A&M and Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel back in 2014.
"“I couldn’t see how you could exist with that young quarterback and Romo, and Romo playing and being here another five or six years,” Jones told KRLD-FM during a radio interview in November. “By that time, you’ve developed a quarterback for somebody else, because they’d probably get tired of it and want to go someplace else when their contract came up.”"
So basically Jones admits that the quarterback position has not been a priority while they have a starter like Romo under center. You’d simply be developing talent that other teams would eventually benefit from. Of course, that philosophy backfired last season when a Cowboys team that was 12-4 the year before plummeted to 4-12 in 2015 after Romo suffered two separate collarbone fractures limiting him to only four game appearances.
In the aftermath of Romo’s injuries, the Cowboys struggled to replace his production as three different back-up quarterbacks could muster only one win between them last year. That fact may have Dallas rethinking it’s draft strategy moving forward.
One football philosophy that has been gaining popularity is the idea of drafting a quarterback every year. It’s one that was recently echoed by Detroit Lions general manger Bob Quinn.
"“I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year,” Quinn during the Lion’s Member Summit at Ford Field on Thursday via Detroit Free Press. “There’s such a value in the position and nowadays in college football there’s a lot of spread offenses, which means it’s a lot different than pro football. So it takes these young quarterbacks time to develop. So if you can add a young quarterback every year or every other year to your roster, it’s good football business in my mind. So you have time to develop them, either on the practice squad or as a backup, before eventually them having to play in a game.”"
Quinn was hired to take over as general manager in Detroit in January after spending the previous 16 seasons with the New England Patriots. Quinn was most recently the Patriots’ director of pro scouting.
Drafting a quarterback religiously has been a strategy echoed by fans for several years now. And taking a flier on quarterbacks in the later rounds in the draft, hoping to find a gem like New England quarterback Tom Brady (sixth round, 2000), seems reasonable.
Although finding players like Brady and Romo are very rare, their existence in the league makes it, at the very least, plausible. It’s a lottery ticket many fans believe the Cowboys should be buying more regularly. Do you?
Next: 2016 Dallas Cowboys Complete Mock Draft
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