The Dallas Cowboys Have the 4th Pick in the NFL Draft
Will Tony Romo stay the Cowboys’ main option at quarterback?
It’s hard to forget the casino scene from the movie Tombstone. Renowned gun fighters Doc Holliday, seasoned and on the tail-end of his career, and Johnny Ringo, a cocky up-and-comer making a reputation for himself, meet for the first time. Their exchange is timeless and if you’ve never seen the movie here it is:
Johnny Ringo: And you must be Doc Holliday?
Doc Holliday: That’s the rumor.
Johnny Ringo: You retired too? (Wyatt Earp had just stated that he was a retired lawman)
Doc Holliday: Not me. I’m in my prime.
Johnny Ringo: Yeah, you look it.
The start of the 2015 season for the Dallas Cowboys was much like an old western. Tony Romo, despite being in his 13th NFL season, came out like a young gunslinger. With both pistols drawn and guns blazing, they welcomed all challengers. When the dust finally settled, the Cowboys found themselves with a 2-0 record, but a wounded Tony Romo.
The rest of their season would follow suit. With Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick missing as well as a host of other injuries, the Cowboys had no aces to play. Brandon Weeden managed only 2 touchdown passes in 4 games and still eluded getting that first win as a starter in the NFL. Matt Cassel was then handed the reins, but in 7 games as the starter he threw 7 interceptions and only 5 touchdowns.
When Tony Romo came back from his injury in week 11, he breathed new life into a team that hadn’t seen a win in his absence. After beating a struggling Miami Dolphins team in sunny South Beach, tragedy struck again. This time in the form of a voracious (and undefeated) Carolina Panthers defense. Behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, Romo proved he was all but bulletproof. For the third time since 2010, he had broken his clavicle. The rest, they say, is history.
Tony Romo Injury Healing
Fast forward to 2016. In the off-season, Romo underwent a Mumford procedure, where 1 to 2 centimeters of the bone off the end of the clavicle is cut. Tony Romo is doing “excellent” according to owner Jerry Jones. The question on the minds of most Cowboys fans isn’t about the near future of Tony Romo, but rather “Who’s next?” After last season, it’s more than apparent it won’t be long until the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for the last 13 years rides off into the sunset.
The lucky number is 4. That is the overall pick the Dallas Cowboys have in the 2016 draft. It’s the first time since the 2003 NFL draft (the same draft Tony Romo went undrafted) that the Cowboys have had a top 5 pick. What will Jerry Jones do? Will he try to build depth, fill recent vacancies, or build for the future? Most fans would agree that there’s no better place to start than at quarterback.
Historically, the chances are slim. The Cowboys have only drafted 2 quarterbacks ever with their first round picks. Craig Morton and Wyatt Earp himself – Troy Aikman. But times are changing. Will the Cowboys change with them? Currently 18 of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL are first rounders. 12 of those 18 were top 5 picks. They say that selecting a quarterback in the first round is a gamble, like going all-in on a pocket pair of aces. Many teams are starting to take that gamble. (Don’t forget that the winning quarterback of Super Bowl XLIX was a former number 1 overall pick).
Heads, You Win. Tails, You Lose.
There are only 4 quarterbacks in the 2016 class projected to go in the first round: Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State, Jared Goff from Cal, Paxton Lynch from Memphis, and Connor Cook from Michigan State. Wentz and Goff are the only two considered top 10 selections. So, if the Cowboys do decide to look for their future in the draft it will be like flipping a coin (which is probably why most mock drafts have the Cowboys selecting Joey Bosa from Ohio State).
Every coin has two sides. Heads, you find a young play-maker that can come in and learn from Tony Romo, an undrafted player that had the willpower to prove he belonged in this league. Tails, you find an overrated player that fizzles out on the field and out of the Cowboys history book. The question Cowboys’ fans simply want to know is: Will this be the year they finally flip the coin?