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Counterpoint: With or Without Orton, Drafting QB Isn’t Crucial

Posted Apr 30, 2014


IRVING, Texas – First of all, let’s get this out there: I think Kyle Orton will play this year.

He has yet to miss anything that is mandatory. And if he truly doesn’t love the offseason work, he certainly wouldn’t be the only veteran player in NFL history to feel that way.

Of course, if he’s so tired of football to the point he’ll give back $3 million, then that would indeed put him in a very small (and maybe even crazy) group of players in the history of this game. When it comes to large sums of money, it’s usually a one-way street.

So, that being said, I could see Orton coming back once again and being the No. 2 quarterback.

However, even if the feeling here at Valley Ranch was Orton would not be returning next year, I don’t think it means you’ve got to draft a quarterback.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of taking one, unless you can absolutely see a role for him. I hear all the time how fans want the Cowboys to just take a quarterback “in the third or fourth.” Yeah, that sounds good, but maybe I just remember Stephen McGee and how having a project like that actually affects the roster.

Whether or not he’s ready to play, he’s going to make the team. That’s three quarterbacks now on the 53-man roster. With the injuries this team has sustained over the last few years, they can’t afford to have a third QB just sitting there being inactive every week.

So let’s get to some real names. The third or fourth round would include guys like LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray – both SEC guys who had knee injuries last year but should be cleared for camp. It also includes David Fales from San Jose State, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron perhaps and possibly Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage.

Again, we’re talking about quarterbacks and there’s a chance many of these Top-10 passers are gone by the end of the second round.

But even if they last to the third, I’m not taking one for the Cowboys. I doubt they’d come in and be better than Brandon Weeden. So that means they’re not going to be No. 2 even if Orton sits out. And if Orton does play, now you’re forced to keep the draft pick.

Isn’t this why you got Weeden in the first place? It’s a free look at a guy you had a second-round grade on two years ago. Forget about his age – he won’t be playing for the next 4-5 years anyway.

To me, Weeden is your mid-round quarterback to take a chance on and you can do that without using a draft pick.

The reason I’ve gone this far without mentioning Tony Romo’s back injury is because I just don’t see the point of discussing it in terms of the draft. Romo’s back really doesn’t affect it to me. If it flares up on him, you don’t really want to call on a rookie anyway, right?

If Romo’s back prevents him from playing more than a couple of years down the road, then it’s likely you’re going to draft someone next year when the crop of 10-12 can’t-miss quarterbacks are ready to get picked.

To me, I’ve always thought you take a quarterback when you really need one.

Now, if you’ve got a player on your board in the later rounds, sure take him and see if he can develop. Obviously, that’s how the starting quarterback got here 11 years ago.

But when it comes to draft picks, I’m not going there this year, regardless of what Orton decides. Even though I’ll be shocked if that decision isn’t made.

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