(Editor's Note: The staff of DallasCowboys.com is currently previewing the depth chart at each position on the Cowboys' roster. The biggest remaining variable in determining that depth chart is the NFL draft, which begins April 28. This series will identify five potential draft picks who could affect the depth chart at each position.)
IRVING, Texas – It's probably the most popular debate about America's Team this entire offseason, and we're a few days away from finding out:
Will the Cowboys draft a quarterback in 2016, and if so, when?
The franchise has indicated they'd like to develop a young quarterback behind Tony Romo, who turned 36 last week, at some point. As they look to rebound from last season's 4-12 record, they also could use immediate help at several other roster spots.
Currently Kellen Moore is the only backup with regular-season experience, having filled in for three games last year with Romo (collarbone) sidelined. With that depth chart in mind, here are just a few quarterback prospects who could get drafted around the league in the early, middle and late rounds:
1. Paxton Lynch, Memphis – Mock drafts generally have viewed Lynch as the next-best quarterback prospect after Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, the apparent favorites to go off the board (in some order) to the Rams and Eagles with the first two picks. Lynch has outstanding arm strength, as he showed during a windy Pro Day a few weeks ago. Some outside draft observers believe Lynch needs time to develop in a pro-style offense, but he did improve in all three years as Memphis' starter and posted career-bests in completion percentage (66.8), passing yards (3,778), touchdowns (28) and interceptions (4) as a junior before declaring for the draft.
2. Connor Cook, Michigan State – Cook made All-Big Ten in all three years as a starter, and as a senior he won the conference's Quarterback of the Year award for leading the Spartans to the College Football Playoff semifinals. At 6-foot-4 he has a good frame and arm strength for the NFL, though outside draft observers have scrutinized his accuracy and even his leadership in college. There's no denying Cook was a winner in college who helped elevate Michigan State to national prominence. He's generally projected as a Day 2 prospect who has gotten some late-first round media buzz in the last couple of weeks.
3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State – Prescott finished an outstanding college career as a three-year starter and two-time All-American. A versatile player from the pocket, he's one of four players in FBS history to throw 70 touchdown passes and run for 40 touchdowns in his career. He reportedly was arrested on suspicion of DUI in March, so it remains to see how that might affect his draft stock. But throughout his career he was lauded for his leadership and character on a Mississippi State team that rose to No. 1 in the polls during his 2014 junior season.
4. Brandon Allen, Arkansas – Unlike the above-mentioned prospects, the 6-foot-1 Allen doesn't have an ideal NFL frame, which has made him more of a mid-round option in the eyes of outside draft experts. But he played in a pro-style system at Arkansas and was productive in the ultra-competitive SEC, throwing 30 touchdowns and only eight interceptions as a senior.
5. Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech – Driskel left the Florida and the SEC after the 2014 season and thrived at Louisiana Tech as a fifth-year senior, throwing 27 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. At 6-foot-4 he's tall enough to see over NFL defenses, and he could be a developmental pick for a team in the later rounds.