Is Penn State Quarterback, Christian Hackenberg a Good Fit for Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys have held a private practice for Penn State quarterback, Christian Hackenberg.

To Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, the idea of a quarterback coming straight out of the NFL Combine and taking the helm is insane. For now, that is still Tony Romo’s spot. That doesn’t mean being diligent now for the inevitable future is beyond reason. However, spending the number 4 pick on a developmental quarterback might be. Another thing to note is that their current backup quarterback, Kellen Moore, has yet to establish what his legacy will look like.

Quarterback, Christian Hackenberg

Christian Hackenberg threw for 20 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions his freshman year at Penn State.

With high 2nd and 3rd round picks still in their back pockets, one might have a quarterbacks name on it.

Speculations have been made that if Paxton Miller were to slip low in the first round, would the Cowboys trade up? For that to happen, a lot of pieces outside their control would need to fall into place.

On Wednesday, the Cowboys explored another option. According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, in a private workout, the Cowboys looked at Penn State quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. Though his rankings have slipped since his stellar freshman year, there are many upsides to still consider.

Who is Christian Hackenberg?

Christian Hackenberg was recruited to Penn State by Bill O’Brien. After working alongside Tom Brady for five years, O’Brien decided the young man from Fork Union, Virginia would be his quarterback. Hackenberg knew O’Brien was the coach for him. Even when Penn State got slapped with scholarship limitations and bowl bans, he stayed loyal to O’Brien and Penn State, keeping his commitment when other recruits decided to jump ship.

After a solid freshman year (2,955 passing yards and 20 touchdowns) the marriage would end. O’Brien joined the Houston Texans and Hackenberg would be left behind. A new coach and new system is what many attribute as the cause of his fall from stardom. He would only throw 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over his next two years. He didn’t outright blame his coach, James Franklin. He did, however, fail to mention him in his letter of declaration to enter the draft.

What Will Hackenberg Bring to the Cowboys

For a quarterback, Christian Hackenberg has a solid frame. Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 224 pounds, he is good size for an NFL quarterback. He has a great arm, at times lofting a 50 yard pass downfield with ease. Behind a good offensive line in a pro-style system, he shows good poise and command of an offense by calling audibles and adjusting plays well at the line.

Also note that even with a talent depleted roster due to scholarship restrictions, he still won the Pinstripe Bowl in 2014. He maintained an astounding 4.0 GPA at Penn State, proving he has the brains to play quarterback at the next level.

Where the Cowboys Can Help Hackenberg

Christian Hackenberg’s most obvious flaw is his mechanics. Would they have improved if quarterback-friendly O’Brien had continued coaching him? We can only speculate. With Jason Garrett, a former NFL quarterback, as head coach of the Cowboys, we could expect some improvements in his mechanics.

Behind Penn State’s questionable line, Hackenberg had many problems in 2015. Being off-cue, bad decisions, and errant passes overshadowed the poise and control he seemed to posses his freshman year. Is he on a downward trend? Was that first year the pinnacle of his career or simply what to expect given the proper protection and scheme?

With the Dallas Cowboys, much of the offensive schemes are built around Tony Romo. But can they be tweaked over time to fit Hackenberg or will he have to once again have to find a way to fit into someone else’s system? The biggest thing the Cowboys can undoubtedly do is put a good offensive line in front of him. Because everyone has seen that no quarterback can be at their very best when the defense is at the door after every snap. (Cue Cam Newton Super Bowl XLIX)

When We Can Expect to See Hackeneberg

Quarterback, Chirstian Hackenberg, will fall somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round. Seeing him drop too far down the list is unlikely considering how many teams have taken a look at him. Even Bill O’Brien hasn’t ruled him out after the Texans have already signed Brock Osweiler in the off-season. We can’t be sure whether the Cowboys liked what they saw on Wednesday until the draft. Even if they did, when the time comes they might not pull the trigger.

They did, however, see enough in the scouting report to grant him an up close look from the Cowboys’ staff. That has to say something.