Mac Engel

Noah Spence is the ‘perfect’ player for Dallas Cowboys

Considering his character concerns, Noah Spence, center, could be a “trade down” draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys.
Considering his character concerns, Noah Spence, center, could be a “trade down” draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys. AP

A quarterback, a defensive end and a running back walk into a bar.

The bartender asks, “What are you having?”

The quarterback — let’s call him Johnny Manziel — says, “I’ll have everything that comes in a bottle.”

Everything?” the bartender asks.

“Trust me,” Manziel says. “I got this.”

The bartender asks the defensive end, whom we will call Randy Gregory, what he’s having.

“I want your biggest bag of weed,” Gregory says.

The bartender then asks the running back, whom we’ll call Joseph Randle, “And what about you?”

Randle says, “I ain’t payin’ but gimme your best pair a’ boxer shorts and a’ bottle of cologne.”

The bartender looks at this trio of genius and says, “You’re my kinda players: Do you want to be Dallas Cowboys?”

The bartender is Jerry Jones only this is no bad joke.

The NFL Combine begins this week in Indianapolis, which means at some point Jerry will sit in his Dean Blandino-approved party bus to deliver Jerry’s State of the Cowboys Off-season. The only thing missing is a title sponsor.

Whether it was Pavlovian-admiration of Manziel in the 2014 NFL Draft, handing the starting running back keys to Randle or proclaiming Ganja Gregory the steal of the ’15 class, no one has proved he has learned less over 20 years of drafting players than our Jerry.

The recent escapades of Manziel, Gregory and Randle say the Cowboys should abstain from red-flagged-players, but there is a potential deal to be had in the top 10 of this class.

If you are trying to determine whom the Cowboys will pick, never forget the Jerry Factor, which means this team will find a way to select Eastern Kentucky defensive lineman Noah Spence despite the fact his résumé is loaded with more luggage than a 747.

The smarter plays for the Cowboys with the fourth overall pick are UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Cal quarterback Jared Goff or Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, but Spence fills a need and he could be a steal.

Despite the failed addition of Greg Hardy, who will not be returning, the Cowboys don’t have a dynamic pass rusher. After watching former Aggie Von Miller emasculate Cam Newton in the Super Bowl, it’s apparent the Cowboys need to fill this spot with a stud to be taken seriously as a contender.

The Cowboys are the only playoff contenders without a Grade-A pass rusher.

Spence is a 6-foot-2, 254-pound monster who can run. According to the professional guessing draft services, Spence is the best pass rusher in this class.

Spence would fill a specific Cowboys need, is an immense talent and has the necessary clichés scouts love to use to sound smart. Plus he has Off the Field traits that scare most sane teams, which makes him the ideal Jerry Cowboy.

Spence was the first five-star recruit signed by head coach Urban Meyer after he arrived at Ohio State; as a sophomore he had 7.5 sacks in 13 starts.

Then, Spence was busted for failing a slew of drug tests as a Buckeye and, in November of 2014, was banned from the Big Ten Conference.

Do you know how hard it is to get kicked off an Urban Meyer-coached football team? Or to be banned from the Big Ten?

At Florida, Urban is the guy who had Aaron Hernandez, who is now in prison for murder.

Spence transferred to Eastern Kentucky where, in the spring of ’15, he was arrested for alcohol intoxication in a public place and second-degree disorderly conduct. He was taken to jail and was released that day. That transgression was erased from his record after he did community service.

It should also be noted that Spence spent time in rehab — not for addiction to weed, which is Randy Gregory’s drug of choice. No, Spence liked the good stuff — he was treated for an addiction to Ecstasy.

What’s not to love about this guy?

His “tape” shows that he dominated his opponents while he played at Ohio State and Eastern Kentucky. Considering his character concerns, he would also potentially fit into the “trade down” element that Jerry loves.

Drafting at No. 4, the Cowboys could trade down with another top 10-selecting team in exchange for the picks that Jerry hearts like a son — a fourth rounder.

The only knock on Spence as a potential Cowboy is that he might be better suited for a 3-4 defense rather than what the Cowboys currently run, the 4-3.

But aside from any scheme concern, if any team should be scared of Spence, it should be the Cowboys.

Jerry coveted Manziel, who has turned into a disaster with the Browns and could be facing domestic assault charges.

Gregory, a top-10 talent in the ’15 Draft, slid to the second round where the Cowboys selected him because it did not care as much about the “character issues.” Now, he will miss the first four games of the 2016 season after he failed another drug test.

And Randle, the team’s starting running back last season, who had been arrested in 2015 and was finally cut in November 2016, was arrested over the weekend in Wichita, Kan. It was only the fifth time he was arrested in the past 17 months.

Noah Spence is a starter kit for any one of the above scenarios.

But Jerry has a soft spot for these types of players because they are good, they come cheap and he is OK if they end up being a bad joke.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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