Is drafting a quarterback still an option?

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
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The Dallas Cowboys signed Tony Romo to a seven-year contract extension worth $119.5 million, giving the team security at the position for the next four to five years.

But does that mean the Cowboys won't draft a quarterback for the future? Or that the Cowboys won't draft a quarterback this year?

The Cowboys have drafted 28 quarterbacks in franchise history, producing two Hall of Famers -- Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. They have drafted two in the first round -- Craig Morton and Aikman -- and three total since Aikman retired in 2000.

One of the quarterbacks drafted since Aikman's retirement, Isaiah Stanback, was moved to wide receiver.

The Cowboys don't have an immediate need for a quarterback, but Romo will be 33 in Week 1 and backup Kyle Orton (30) is signed only through 2014.

The quarterback class is considered weak this year, but there are some intriguing names projected to go in the second and third rounds. Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, Landry Jones and Tyler Bray are all projected to go in the middle rounds.

The perception is the Cowboys don't need a quarterback because they locked up Romo and have other areas of need (offensive and defensive line, safety and running back). But there's nothing wrong with adding to the position with young talent. Stephen McGee was a fourth-round pick in 2009 who was groomed to be a No. 2, but he never developed.

You could blame McGee or the coaching staff for the lack of progress.

Since 2000, NFL teams have drafted 14 quarterbacks in the fourth round, with the most notable names being Orton and David Garrard.

However, notable second-round selections since 2000 are Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Kevin Kolb and Drew Brees. Brees has won a Super Bowl and Kaepernick played in one this year.

Quality quarterbacks can be found in the early portions of the draft and even the middle rounds -- Russell Wilson and Matt Schaub were third-round picks -- but making that commitment to the future is key for any NFL team.

While the Cowboys do have other needs, getting a quarterback this April could make just as strong a statement as giving Romo $55 million guaranteed.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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