With Cooper Rush returning, will Cowboys still draft a QB?
There’s no more important position in football than that of the quarterback. Whether the offense is on the pass-heavy side of things or are more run-heavy, no position holds more potential impact than the quarterback. On the Cowboys it’s especially true, with the passing offense far outpacing the running offense throughout the Dak Prescott era (in both EPA and success rate).
After testing the market in free agency, back-up quarterback Cooper Rush has signed a 2-year deal to remain in Dallas. Even with Rush and Will Grier under contract, the Cowboys still have an open chair or two in the quarterback room. Dallas has expressed a desire to add one this draft cycle and head coach Mike McCarthy has already shown his willingness to try and develop one for the club in the failed Ben DiNucci experiment.
What are the chances Dallas actually drafts a rookie quarterback this season?
The first thing to keep in mind is McCarthy is a quarterback coach. Not only was the quarterback position once his specialty, but it’s a position he’s leaned on throughout his career to run his West Coast brand of offense.
Even when his quarterback room has been seemingly full, McCarthy has been perfectly willing to invest more draft capital at the all-important position.
From 2012-2022 the Cowboys have drafted exactly two quarterbacks: Dak Prescott (2016) and Ben DiNucci (2020).
From 2006 to 2018 (McCarthy’s years as head coach in Green Bay), McCarthy’s Packers drafted five quarterbacks: Brett Hundley (2015), B.J. Colman (2012), Brian Brohm (2008), Matt Flynn (2008)and Ingle Martin (2006).
A few interesting observations from both lists:
Six of the seven quarterbacks were drafted in the back half of their respective drafts.
Three of the five McCarthy drafted in Green Bay were selected before Aaron Rodgers was the established starter
It’s hard to find franchise quarterbacks outside of the first round
Given the importance of the position in the modern NFL, one would think more attention would have been paid to the spot over the years. Understandably, both teams took a more active approach to the situation when the future of QB1 was up in the air.
That’s not the situation in Dallas today.
Yet, Prescott is only locked in for two more seasons and the Cowboys have given up their ability to franchise tag him again. It’s expected they can retain him beyond the 2024 season but that’s hardly guaranteed.
Additionally, football is a physical game and Prescott has missed five or more games in two of his last three seasons. Having an extra option behind Prescott and Rush serves short-term as well as long-term needs.
Jerry Jones discussed this topic earlier in the offseason and bluntly stated the Cowboys “were committed to drafting a QB.”
Jerry Jones said that the Cowboys are "committed to drafting a QB" and that Mike McCarthy will call the plays next season, per @calvinwatkins pic.twitter.com/T02dDHxaB4
— Action Network NFL (@ActionNetNFL) February 1, 2023
While Dallas is unlikely to use their top picks on a signal caller this draft cycle, it would be surprising if they didn’t pick up a quarterback later, considering the current room only consists of Rush and Grier as depth and both players may have already maxed out their potential.
On the other side of things, the urgency is diminished with Rush re-signed so it’s possible the Cowboys won’t force the issue in the draft and will settle on a rookie free agent instead.
History suggests they won’t draft one unless the right player falls because neither side has been overly eager over the years when they feel confident in their current veteran signal caller.
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