Johnny Manziel: Good for business, bad for Cowboys

05/05/2014 6:53 PM

11/12/2014 5:06 PM

In three days, we will have arrived at the scariest time of year for your Dallas Cowboys: the NFL Draft.

In honor of Star Wars, your only hope is the head coach who was once thought to be a Jedi.

The only person keeping the general manager from going all Jerry in this NFL Draft is the head coach you are likely tired of, Jason Garrett.

Coach Garrett’s record as an NFL head coach may not be glittering, but from a talent evaluator standpoint, trust his method more than the man who simply has no fear, coupled with a thirst for big names. It hasn’t been perfect, but the ’Boys have drafted pretty well under JG because there is a purpose to the method (usually).

There is no bigger name in this draft than the man who now can go by one name — Johnny.

“He can make all the throws,” Denver Broncos president John Elway told The Denver Post.

This is also the same guy who praised Tim Tebow all the way until he traded him to the Jets. Elway likes Manziel, but he doesn’t have to draft him because he already has a quarterback.

The Cowboys have rated Manziel as the top quarterback in this draft, ahead of Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. One Cowboys front-office guy told me, “He has the ‘it’ factor.’ ”

All of your latest NFL mock draft boards, which are usually a composite of guessing based on guesses, have Texas A&M’s favorite online graduate, Johnny Manziel, dropping. And dropping.

Dropping all the way down to No. 12. If Mr. Football drops to 12, there is a 100 percent chance he falls to the Cowboys at 16; the hour or so between these picks will be the most entertaining in NFL Draft history.

This is when your only hope is Jason Garrett doing the impossible, and what must be done — stopping Jerry. This will be a selfless task, and in the end may require Red to fall on a football grenade.

From a sales, marketing and PR standpoint, the marriage of the Cowboys to Johnny Football must happen.

From a football standpoint, the marriage of the Cowboys to Johnny Football must never happen.

Should this scenario play out, and the Cowboys indeed draft Mr. Football, we will know that Garrett has signed off on his firing papers — that he is signing off on what his boss wants. That he no longer has influence in the room.

Stopping Jerry in this instance is about Garrett remaining true to what players he wants to build his football team, and not selecting a QB who is too short, gets hit too often and is an injury waiting to happen.

When the Cowboys hired Scott Linehan to call plays, and demoted Bill Callahan to “assistant run-play call coordinator on most third-and-long plays” — or something — it was a clear indication Jerry was giving his head coach what he wanted.

To draft Manziel would be counter to such a move.

The draft is no longer about selecting “the best player available” but making immediate upgrades, and inserting starters. The draft is all about addressing immediate needs. The Cowboys have so many needs they could draft just about any position and sell him as “best player available.”

The Cowboys simply need not necessarily to find stars as much as they need to simply not miss. Just select real players.

In March of 2013, the Cowboys gave Romo a six-year, $108 million contract, but that was before he had a pair of back surgeries.

Maybe Romo’s back is too fried and too mangled to ever expect him to be the same again, but to select Manziel would be akin to taking Romo 2.0, only this version has more bugs and will frustrate you even more than the original.

Think whatever you want of Romo, but he is better today, and will be better than Manziel ever will be, as a pro. Drafting Manziel does not make the Cowboys better today, or tomorrow.

Quarterbacks who get hit don’t live in the NFL. And please stop with the short-guy comparisons between Manziel and Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. Brees has a far superior arm, and accuracy, and Wilson is surrounded by a superior cast of characters to make his success so attainable.

Some team is going to take Mr. Football, and when he plays, be it in preseason or the regular season, I will gladly join the masses in watching this fascinating, cocky, little QB try to do his thing against the monsters of the NFL.

Mr. Football is great for the business of football, but he would not be good for the Cowboys football team.

Whether Jerry sees the football part over the marketing part, we don’t know. Should it come to that on Thursday night, our only hope may be the former Jedi lame-duck head coach.

Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog at star-telegram.com/sports.

About Mac Engel

Mac Engel

@macengelprof

Since 1998 Mac Engel has covered the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Cowboys, colleges, high schools, the Olympics, women's basketball, even amateur women's judo. He has wasted more brain space on local sports than a human should. And he's a big fan of talking about it.

Email Mac at tengel@star-telegram.com | Read The Big Mac Blog

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