2014 marked the first offseason where fans were comfortable at taking a quarterback in early rounds. Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, and Jimmy Garoppolo were just a few names attached to the Cowboys. The Cowboys had Johnny Manziel in their crosshairs as he slipped to the Cowboys at #16, but the Cowboys were not ready to make any commitment to a young QB.
Jerry Jones also said he was not “gunned up” about adding a rookie QB at this time, and Jason Garrett went on to further explain why:
“The thing you’re concerned about is developing them for somebody else. You develop them for two, three, four years and he goes and plays for another football team, Garrett said, via ESPN.com. We don’t think that’s a worthwhile thing. There’s been a theory around the league, teams like Green Bay for years always took a guy late and if that player develops into something that was a good thing for their team or to trade to somebody else. There were some examples of them doing that. It’s a philosophy a lot of teams, they agree with that. But when you have other issues on your team I think it becomes a little bit of a luxury to do that. When you feel good about your starter and you feel good about your backups, we feel it’s better to take a position player, a guy we know can contribute on special teams, instead of trying to develop that guy.”
Ok, so we passed on Manziel and several familiar names in other rounds, and we’re fine with that. After all, we bolstered the offensive line with a premier guy in Zack Martin and we have our right end speed rusher in Demarcus Lawrence. But what about 2015?
Tony Romo will have to get through this season, and we still don’t know how he’ll perform over a 16-game season with that beat-up back of his. If I’m the Cowboys, 2015 is the year we should seriously consider using a high pick on a QB and see if we have our next franchise QB. Romo is on limited time, we all know it, we really do. Obviously, we don’t know how the season will pan out, but we will have options in the 2015 draft.
Who could the Cowboys be scouting for the 2015 draft? (in no particular order)
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State 6-4, 210lbs
Cook is seen as a tweener type QB that can scramble, but can stay in the pocket and make pro-caliber passes. Needs to bulk up this year. For Connor to get into the top QBs discussion he’ll need to be more of a pocket passer first then run when needed. Cook had an impressive Bowl game to close out the season, so you’ll want to watch this player closely this year and see if he makes that next leap.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon 6-5, 218lbs
Viewed by some as a system quarterback, drafting Mariota could be your typical boom or bust come the 2015 draft. He struggled against the top defenses in the NCAA, and he’ll have to show he can play from under the center more than anything. He definitely has the arm strength you want for a deep passing attack. He’ll be in the discussion for the overall top pick come the 2015 draft. Depending how the Cowboys season ends up, and whether or not Garrett remains in Dallas, a team with a new coach and fresh start could benefit from drafting a player with Mariota’s style.
Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford 6-4, 228lbs
Hogan has the potential to being next year’s Blake Bortles. Stanford is a run-first offense, but Hogan has been clutch in tight games and his leadership on the field shows in big time games. Personally, I really like what I have seen from Hogan. Each year the Fighting Irish play Stanford I cringe, because this guy can play, he will never say die. If Hogan takes the next level this coming season, he’ll be the guy the Cowboys will want to target. He’s your typical pocket passer, so if you couple him with the Cowboys new look offensive line, watch out. Keep an eye on this player.
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA 6-3, 222lbs
I hadn’t watched many UCLA games apart from the game highlights during the year, but many draftniks like what they see in Hundley. He has the potential of being a 1st round prospect if he can put in another solid season for the Bruins. The Cowboys will undoubtedly get to see Hundley first hand when UCLA plays Texas Sept. 13th, in AT&T Stadium.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State 6-4, 235lbs.
This player will be under the microscope the rest of his collegiate career. Several highly questionable off field incidents will ding Winston heading into the season and during the draft process in 2015. He’s a Heisman trophy winner, and MVP QB, but he’ll need to have another stellar season to cement his name for the overall best QB in next year’s draft. Winston will probably battle Mariota for that distinguished conversation. If Winston can duplicate or improve on his 2014 season, then that may be enough for teams to overlook the off field issues – maybe.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor 6-3, 230lbs.
I bunch Petty into the same field as Marcus Mariota, in that these guys can pass the hell out of the ball and dominant opponents, but just like Mariota, Petty seems to struggle in “big time games” against the Oklahoma Sooners and Central Florida. Petty will need to be a bit more dynamic this season, and If I’m him I play at the Senior Bowl and dominate. If he does all this then he’ll shoot up draft boards. Petty will be linked to the Cowboys in 2015, I’m almost sure of it, So watch him the season for a closer look.