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Jimmy Garoppolo comes from the same school as Tony Romo but may be off the board when the Cowboys might consider selecting a quarterback late in the draft.

Dallas Cowboys 2014 Draft Needs: Quarterbacks

Will the Cowboys take a quarterback late in the draft?

By Matthew Postins

PostinsPostcards.com

RattleandHumSports.com is breaking down the draft needs at every position group for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. Today it’s the quarterbacks.

Quarterbacks: Tony Romo (starter); Kyle Orton (backup).

Cowboys quarterbacks entering free agency: None.

Draft need?: 5 (out of 10, 10 being most pressing).

Why: Jerry Jones made it pretty clear this offseason that he was not interested in spending a high draft pick on a potential successor to Tony Romo. Given the Cowboys’ serious cap issues and needs on the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to see Jones biting the bullet on spending a first-round pick on a quarterback. But what about a late-round pick? Jones is mum so far. The fact is that Romo is 33-years old and coming off two back surgeries in one year. If the surgery was for a herniated disc, as was widely reported, that has to be taken into consideration. That makes this a higher draft need than Jones’ statements in January, at least in our estimation. Or does Jones want to end up in the same pickle he ended up in when Troy Aikman abruptly retired? That said, there’s no guarantee Jones will address the position.

Possible targets:

Dallas Cowboys

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Aaron Murray, Georgia: He’s a pro-style quarterback who is used to playing in the crucible of college football pressure, the SEC. I saw him play in person against LSU and Murray has a phenomenal head on his shoulders. He doesn’t crack. He makes few mistakes. He can make most of the pro throws. Murray is graded as a fourth-round pick and is coming off a knee injury, so he’ll be a bit undervalued. He’s perfect for a team that doesn’t need him right now. Scouts love his fundamentals but wish Murray was a bit taller.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois: Yes, he went to Romo’s alma mater. While at EIU Garoppolo supplanted Romo in the school’s record book and won the Walter Payton Award, given to FCS’s top offensive player. Romo won that same award. Garoppolo is zooming up draft boards right now after solid all-star game performances and might require a second-round pick. Scouts hate his arm strength and height but love his smarts and elusiveness. Sounds familiar.

Keith Wenning, Ball State: Another record-setting passer in the cradle of quarterbacks, the Mid-American Conference. He re-wrote Ball State’s record books and I saw a couple of his games this year. I saw a player that can make passes in tight spaces, has solid pocket presence and puts his receivers in good positions to catch passes. He may not require a draft pick, but a late-round flier on a player with Wenning’s height and ability may be worth it.

Looking ahead: One must assume that the Cowboys will remain a pro-style offense team, even if Jason Garrett is not the head coach in 2015. We think it would be smart of the Cowboys to identify a mid-round prospect in the fourth or fifth round to draft and stash for the next four years. It makes sense, especially with Romo and his backup, Kyle Orton, on the backside of their primes. Romo might have two or three more good years in him, but that’s no guarantee he’ll fulfill his contract. Jerry Jones has drafted one quarterback since Romo assumed the starting job in 2006. Jones is making no promises he’ll draft No. 2 in 2014.

Next up: Running backs.

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