MOBILE, Ala. – While the draft is still three months away, there has been plenty of speculation concerning just when, not if, the Cowboys will address the quarterback position in the draft.
That stance was clouded just a bit on Wednesday after Cowboys owner/general manager said at the Senior Bowl practices that his team isn't bound to taking a quarterback in the draft.
"No, not at all," Jones answered. "But this gives us a good opportunity."
This offseason, there has been and will continue to be a healthy debate on if the Cowboys should spend more time and resources on the backup position to Tony Romo, or simply strengthen the supporting cast to be handle if or when Romo were to go down again.
Jones seemed to side more with the latter.
"Part of our stumble was because of not being where we wanted to be at backup," Jones said. "But we don't have to take a quarterback and have a draft pick as our backup and improve how we handle that. I say that very carefully, I'm choosing my words, because I don't want to point to any player after Romo got hurt, but it's how we do it. It's how we basically prepare the supporting cast and everybody around him to be ready to step in when we lose Romo."
But make no mistake, Jones or anyone in the Cowboys' organization is certainly not closing the door on taking a quarterback, even if it's in the first round.
In fact it was Jones who showed a quick first-step after the North practice to make sure and get a quick visit with Carsen Wentz, the North Dakota State quarterback who is considered one of the best prospects here at the Senior Bowl.
The meeting was short and casual, with Jones joking about Wentz' 6-5 height, asking the young quarterback if, "it's tough to breathe up there."
To the media, Jones was more vague in his impressions of the quarterback.
"It's got to be an exciting thing for him to know there's been guy's who have come down here in very similar circumstances and really make a mark," Jones said. "I'm talking about other players in the past, and really make a mark and establish that they can compete at this level from small schools. But we've got a long way to go, and it's really again, I know it's been said a lot of different ways, but I'm glad our (coaching staff) is getting to sit here and work with these guys. There could be as many as 30, 40 players drafted out of this Senior Bowl, so it's good."
The Cowboys haven't drafted a quarterback since 2009 when they took Stephen McGee from Texas A&M. McGee never panned out, failing to even become the regular No. 2 quarterback behind Romo. Since Troy Aikman retired in 2000, the Cowboys have only drafted McGee and Quincy Carter (2001).