The Cowboys evaluate college quarterbacks every year. Almost every year they pass.
Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson drove to Waco on Wednesday to watch Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty throw. He watched Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel last year and has attended many other Pro Days during his nine seasons as a Cowboys assistant coach, and only once during that time have the Cowboys drafted a quarterback.
Since Petty calls Midlothian home, the Cowboys can have him work out at Dallas Day. Or they can schedule a private workout at Baylor.
But Wilson liked what he saw from Petty at Baylor’s Pro Day when the quarterback went 69-of-77 with five drops.
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“I thought he was real solid,” Wilson said. “You know, he demonstrated he could make all the throws, which is necessary to play in the league. He had good touch. Every time you see him, he’s a little more fluid dropping back under center. So, from the Senior Bowl to the combine to now, he looks a little bit improved.”
Everyone concedes Petty isn’t a walk-in starter, needing time to adjust to a pro-style offense. He played in the shotgun in Baylor’s spread offense, which uses a signal system for relaying plays.
“There’s basically one or two protections [in college], and the center’s taking care of that,” Wilson said. “We’ve got 30 or 40 protections that he might be responsible for and changing the declaration of who’s blocking who and guys breaking routes off. So, it is quite the learning curve. But just the volume of the words; they don’t use words. They use signals. That’s the hard part for these guys coming in is they can’t call a play.”
The Cowboys are scouting several other quarterbacks, too, including UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion.
Hundley projects as a second-round pick, Petty as a third- or fourth-rounder, and Mannion as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, according to CBS Sportsline.
So do the Cowboys draft one? History says no.
They have drafted only three quarterbacks since the 1990 draft, taking Bill Musgrave in the fourth round in 1991, Quincy Carter in the second round in 2001 and Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009.
They kept rookie free agent Dustin Vaughan of West Texas A&M on their active roster last season as the third quarterback, though he didn’t play. It’s likely Vaughan gets a second season to develop.