You’ve probably heard by now the Dallas Cowboys met with multiple quarterbacks during their 2014 NFL combine interviews, including Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garappolo and San Jose State’s David Fales. That shouldn’t set off any sirens because the Cowboys meet with at least a couple of quarterbacks every year, although nothing ever comes of it. Heck, they even met with Johnny Manziel this year even though Jerry Jones said the team has “no shot” of drafting him. However, the other two passing prospects are intriguing, especially considering the depth of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Basically, this a dream draft for a Cowboys team that has struggled mightily on defense over the past few years. Dallas will undoubtedly get a solid defensive lineman or defensive back with the 16th overall pick, so Will McClay can safely begin to look at his options in rounds two through seven. While it doesn’t seem likely the Cowboys will draft a quarterback, the prospect of taking Fales is one that is impossible to ignore, especially if he falls to the fourth round or later.
Garappolo is the hot name around Valley Ranch because of his astronomical numbers as a senior (5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns and nine interceptions) and the fact he went to the same college as Tony Romo, but Fales is definitely the more intriguing prospect. He played in a wide open offense at San Jose State and is still incredibly raw as a signal-caller after only two years as a starter in college, yet he still threw for almost 8,400 yards and 66 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
The Cowboys don’t need a new quarterback right now, but if Kyle Orton actually does retire, that will change. In that scenario, Dallas would need a proven player who could step in right away if Romo experiences any problems at all from his surgically-repaired herniated disc.
Thus, it doesn’t really make sense for the Cowboys to draft a quarterback in 2014, regardless of what Orton decides, because a young quarterback to develop would be great only if Romo was healthy. However, there are enough rumors floating around Valley Ranch to suggest Fales isn’t out of the question if Orton retires.
Considering Romo’s uncertain health, drafting Fales would be a very high-risk/high-reward move by the Cowboys. If Romo doesn’t return as the $100 million quarterback Dallas is expecting, then Fales would be forced into an unfair situation of carrying a success-starved team while still way too raw to do any good. If Romo ends up being his usual self (all tired jokes aside), then Fales would be the perfect option to take over three or four years down the road.
In that unlikely, best-cast scenario, Fales would be an ideal late-round pick this year. He has terrific size, vision and accuracy, which should make any quarterback coach drool. His footwork is solid considering how raw he is overall, which can easily be improved, and he doesn’t lack any physical tools to succeed at the next level. The Cowboys haven’t had a quarterback with accuracy like Fales’ since Troy Aikman and he has the arm strength to make any throw in the NFL.
With no intentions of beating a dead horse, Fales is a dream late-round pick for a team looking for a young quarterback with worlds of potential to develop. Had Romo not suffered the injury late in the season, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the Cowboys to really pursue Fales in the fourth round or later, but the uncertainty surrounding Romo’s health makes it cloudy. Thus, drafting Fales now would be a very risky move and it’s unlikely it will happen, but the possibility should make Cowboys fans cautiously giddy at this point.