Many fans in Texas are likely hoping that the Dallas Cowboys draft Johnny Manziel with their first-round pick. While the quarterback could fall in the 2014 NFL Draft and be available for the organization at No.16, don’t expect the Heisman Trophy winner to join “America’s Team.”
Despite speculation that the Cowboys could be looking at Manziel, it doesn’t appear that team has much interest in drafting a signal caller. Even if Manziel isn't taken within the top 15 picks, Dallas could look to make a deal with a team that wants the Texas A&M star.
“(The Cowboys) would love to be on the clock with Johnny Manziel sitting there, but not to take him,” Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”
Added Rapoport: "Just so they would have some ammunition for a potential trade for some team wanting to come up and grab Johnny Manziel.”
Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones has praised Johnny Football in the past, but he remains a supporter of Tony Romo. The 34-year-old has been Dallas’s starting quarterback for eight seasons, having never led the club to a Super Bowl. He missed the final game of the 2013 season with a back injury, and has undergone two surgeries in less than a year. Still, Jones remains steadfast that the team can win with Romo under center.
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"I will go as far as to say it is not our primary goal in the first round to be looking at a quarterback," Jones said on Tuesday. "We've got a good one."
Despite Romo’s inability to lead Dallas to a title, Dallas does have more pressing needs. En route to an 8-8 record, the Cowboys sports the NFL’s worst offense. They were the only team to allow over 400 yards per game. The defense also allowed opponents to score 27 points per contest.
After such a poor 2013 campaign, Dallas lost their top defensive players in free agency. DeMarcus Ware signed with the Denver Broncos and Jason Hatcher went to the Washington Redskins. They did add defensive tackle Henry Melton, but that side of the ball has a lot of room for improvement.
Anthony Barr of UCLA and Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan, could be the best options for Dallas at No.16 overall. Jernigan remains a possibility, despite failing a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Dallas, however, could look to give Romo some help with their first pick. Miles Austin is no longer with the team, and drafting a top wide receiver to play opposite Dez Bryant would make the Cowboys’ offense even more dangerous. LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr., Indiana’s Cody Latimer and Marqise Lee of USC are all possibilities for Dallas in the mid-to-late first round.
Last year, the Cowboys surprised many by taking center Travis Frederick in the first round. In 2014, they could look to fill another need on the offensive line. Dallas lacks depth at guard, and could look to sure up the position, even if it’s not in the first round. UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo and Joel Bitonio of Nevada could compete with Mackenzy Bernadeau for playing time.
The Cowboys selected an offensive lineman in the first round in two of the last three seasons. They haven’t selected a quarterback in the first round since Troy Aikman in 1989.