COMMENTARY | The Seattle Seahawks did the impossible and won the Super Bowl with a 5'11", 206-pound quarterback running the offense. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will find it tempting to follow Seattle's lead and trade up to draft Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, but he needs to focus on the defense in the 2014 draft.
When Wilson entered the 2012 draft he dropped down to the third round because he did not possess prototypical size. He performed so well in training camp that he earned the starting quarterback spot despite the fact that Seattle had signed Matt Flynn to a large free agent contract to be their starting quarterback.
Wilson set the NFL on fire as a rookie passing for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 539 yards and a touchdown. He proved that size does not matter at quarterback when you can improvise in the pocket and make plays.
Meanwhile, Johnny Manziel was setting the college game on its head while becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy in 2013. Manziel, like Wilson, is an undersized quarterback who excels at improvising when a play breaks down and hurting defenses with both his arm and his feet.
He set an SEC record during his first year of college football by compiling 5,116 total yards of offense. In 2014 Manziel passed for 4,114 yards and rushed for 759 yards while scoring 46 total touchdowns.
Manziel's stellar play on the field has resulted in him being projected as a top five pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The Cowboys are waiting on a coin flip to see if they will have the No. 16 or the No. 17 selection in the first round. If they want to draft Manziel, they will have to make trades to move up in the first round.
The NFL is a copycat league and Jones has a history of following the lead of championship teams. In 2000 Jones tried to create a Dallas version of the "greatest show on turf" when he added wide receivers Joey Galloway, Raghib Ismael and James McKnight to the roster.
After watching the 2012 New England Patriots advance to the AFC title game behind the play of tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, Jones decided that the two-tight end offense was the key to NFL success. He selected tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round of the 2013 draft to team him up with Jason Witten and James Hanna in the Cowboys' two-tight end formation.
Escobar struggled to make an impact with only nine receptions in 16 games. The Cowboys abandoned the two-tight end formation when the emergence of Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley made the three-wide receiver formation more effective.
The Cowboys need to focus on defense in the 2014 draft. They need to address some major issues on the defensive line and at safety, while continuing to build their offensive line. The Cowboys have three selections in the first three rounds of the draft and ideally would pick two defensive tackles and a safety with those three picks.
Cowboys' defensive tackle Jason Hatcher had a career year in 2013 with 10 sacks but he is a free agent. Hatcher is 31 years old and you do not build an elite team in the NFL by paying for age. The Cowboys need to let Hatcher go to the highest bidder in free agency and replace him in the draft.
The latest mock drafts have the Cowboys selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. That would be an excellent pick for the Cowboys if they go with defensive tackles in the second and third round.
A draft of Clinton-Dix, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton would be a tremendous coup for the Cowboys in 2014. Other possible defensive tackles Jones should consider include Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt of Notre Dame, RaShede Hageman from Minnesota and Kelcy Quarles from South Carolina.
If the Cowboys select a defensive tackle in the first round, then they should consider Ed Reynolds from Stanford, Craig Loston from LSU and Terrence Brooks from Florida State in the second or third round of the draft.
Jones needs to ignore what everyone else has done in the past, and focus on his team's needs in the 2014 draft. He needs to avoid the temptation to move up in the draft, and use the first three Cowboys' selections on defensive players.
Michael Taglienti lives in Dallas, and has been covering all levels of football for six years. His articles have been featured on CNN and numerous other websites.
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