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Draft Breakdown: QB Position Loaded With Question Marks
(Editor's Note: As the NFL Draft approaches on May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com's Draft Series will analyze every position, the Cowboys' needs at each, which players might be targeted with their 11 picks and some interesting draft nuggets. Part 5 features the quarterback position.)
It’s been a while here in Dallas since the quarterback position has been discussed this much in the offseason, and it didn’t actually begin with Tony Romo. Now, he’s not far off from the discussion by any means, considering he’s rehabbing from back surgery. But the bigger issue at quarterback stems around the backup Kyle Orton, who has not attended voluntary workouts so far this offseason. There had been some talk Orton might even be leaning toward retirement, but if that happens, he’ll have to repay $3 million of his bonus and guaranteed money.
As of now, the Cowboys are expecting him back this summer. Cowboys’ vice president Stephen Jones called it, “a situation that we’ll work through. We expect Kyle, when mandatory practice starts and mandatory things begin, we fully expect Kyle to be there.”
With Orton not around and Romo being limited in his throws during the workouts, the Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden, a first-round pick of the Browns in 2012 who was released by Cleveland. The club also signed veteran Caleb Hanie, who was also in Cleveland all of last year.
What They Need:
This is a question that might have 10 different answers if asked to 10 different people. And a lot of it has to do with those aforementioned issues. Some will argue the Cowboys need to get a top-flight quarterback right now. If a guy like Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater falls to No. 16, there will be a host of Cowboys followers that want a new quarterback. Others might say to get one in the middle rounds, and there could be some who say not to waste a pick on a quarterback that probably wouldn’t be better than Romo, Orton or maybe even Weeden.
If Orton doesn’t end up playing, the Cowboys will likely change their plans in terms of drafting a quarterback.
The available veteran the Cowboys liked is now on the roster. Weeden was a player on whom the Cowboys had a second-round grade back in 2012, and when he became available, it was like a free-look at a player who could have some value. If he pans out, Weeden might be a long-term option as a backup. If he doesn’t, it won’t cost the Cowboys anything to release him.
There are four quarterbacks who could go in the first round – and all of them might be off the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 16.
The biggest name of the bunch is Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who is being projected anywhere from the first pick to Houston, to below the Dallas selection. Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Fresno State’s Derek Carr are all in the mix as well.
The second tier of quarterbacks include Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, who broke many of Romo’s passing records at EIU. Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage is darting up the draft boards as well.
Georgia’s Aaron Murray and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger are a pair of mid-round prospects coming off injuries.
For a more in-depth look at all the draft prospects, check out the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine 2014 Draft Preview, which profiles more than 80 players in the upcoming draft and has rankings for over 300. Digital subscriptions are available.