The Los Angeles Rams’ trade for the No. 1 overall pick seemingly takes the top two quarterbacks out of the discussion for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 4. The Cowboys, though, still are doing their due diligence on the top quarterbacks.
The Cowboys will send a contingent to Berkeley, Calif., this weekend to work out Cal quarterback Jared Goff.
The Rams and the Browns are expected to take quarterbacks with the top two choices. Los Angeles secured the top spot from Tennessee in a swap of nine draft picks between the teams.
“I didn’t know Herschel Walker was still around,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, joking about the 1989 trade that sent Walker to the Vikings in a swap of 18 players and picks.
Jones said the Rams’ move affects the Cowboys since the Titans had been zeroing in on Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
The Cowboys’ 30 pre-draft visits included projected first-round quarterbacks Goff, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch. Dallas now might get to choose among Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.
“I don’t want to make any assumptions [on who the Rams will draft],” Jones said at the fifth annual Nancy Lieberman Charities Dream Ball. “But yeah, it does impact [us], because that kind of movement up ahead of you in a lot of different ways, it took a lot of the consideration out of the marketplace. ... It certainly made a difference below that No. 1 pick as to what might be available in trading or in terms of making a decision with a player. It took two commodities out.”
While not ruling out drafting a quarterback with the fourth overall choice, Jones also won’t guarantee the Cowboys will come out of the draft with a quarterback.
The Cowboys did not add a backup quarterback in the off-season despite three backup quarterbacks going 1-11 in the 12 games Tony Romo missed last season. Kellen Moore and Jameill Showers are the only two backup quarterbacks on the team’s roster.
Jones pointed to Brock Osweiler’s departure from Denver in free agency as a reason the Cowboys might pass on drafting a quarterback.
“I can give you a real scenario where it can be pretty problematic if we do what we want to do, and that’s have Romo play fairly injury-free and uninterrupted for the next three, four, five years,” Jones said.
“If he plays uninterrupted, then you’ve got a problem if you pick the quarterback this year, because you don’t know what you’ve got, really at a time when he may be entering the [free agent] market. There’s an example of that this year.
“And so that’s one of the things you weigh if you’re in our shoes about whether to get interested in a quarterback this early in Romo’s career. It can be distorted by the fact that he has had some injuries two of the last three years.
“It’s something that I don’t have the answer to right now. I’m really hoping that maybe just the dynamics of the draft ... will help make this decision.”
Jones, in fact, ruled out little in a nine-minute interview. It seems likely Tunsil still will be on the board when the Cowboys draft, but Dallas has three offensive line starters drafted in the first round over the last five years.
Still, Jones is keeping all options open.
“I just wouldn’t rule it out,” Jones said of an offensive lineman at No. 4. “It’s not logical. It wouldn’t be the way I’d direct this thing at our top pick, but at the end of the day, we didn’t think that [guard Zack] ]Martin would be there, and … that wasn’t the plan. We got him and may have the best football player in the draft. So that’s why you have to keep your options open.
“That’s not necessarily a direction logically that we’re going. It’s the strength of our team, but we wouldn’t rule it out. You can get light there quick because of the numbers that are involved in the offensive line.”
The Cowboys have had a quiet off-season, adding only four free agents from other teams. Defensive tackle Cedric Thornton is the only walk-in starter. But Jones said the Cowboys aren’t done.
“I think that we accomplished getting players,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say depth, because we need to have rotations, certainly on defense. Yeah, we accomplished that. But we’ve got more to do. Again, it’s not over relative to veteran players for the Cowboys either.”