There is no doubt the Cowboys must shore up their defense in the first few rounds, but the middle of the draft could offer up quality options to sit and learn from Tony Romo.
Zack Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray are all projected between the third and fifth rounds. These are quarterbacks who had tremendous success in college. Mettenberger and Murray are coming off significant injuries but nothing would be expected from them right away.
McCarron intrigues me the most. He just has “winner” written all over him. Sure, other guys can fling it a bit further and others can run a bit faster but he is very intelligent and battle-tested. While at Alabama, A.J. was no stranger to constant scrutiny which was almost unfair to put on a young man. This is similar to the microscope the Dallas Cowboys quarterback is put under. This position is celebrated too highly and ridiculed way too much. McCarron would fit perfectly in Dallas.
Playing in the SEC presented elite level competition week in and week out for these three quarterbacks. I would trust their ability to buy in and adapt to a professional atmosphere much more than someone like Johnny Manziel.
I’ve always viewed smart organizations as those who address needs before they are absolutely necessary. If the Cowboys stay ahead of the curve here, then they won’t be scrambling to have a replacement for Romo when the time comes.
Romo, 33, is owed 54 million in base salary over the last three years of his restructured deal. This also includes a cap hit of 20 million or more in each of those years. Add in his recent back issues and it may be closer to the end of the road for Romo than some might forecast.
With proper preparation, I would feel much more comfortable in a future featuring Murray, Mettenberger or McCarron, as opposed to Caleb Hanie, Brandon Weeden or Kyle Orton.
If the Cowboys wait, they may have no choice in drafting a quarterback in a few years because they may be on the clock with the first overall pick.