Possessing the “it” factor and the marketability that comes with him, it is not a surprise to hear that the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, are interested in Johnny Manziel. Sources such as Peter King and Jim Nantz have reported the news, and as a long-time Cowboy fan, I can say that I am not surprised. Jerry Jones loves making a big splash and drafting Manziel would do just that. Although Manziel to Dallas would be the hottest storyline of 2014, it really leaves one question, are the Cowboys willing to bypass on the defense to select Manziel?
Even with Tony Romo in place on a long-term deal, there is suspicion that Manziel could be wearing a star on his helmet in his rookie season. Last season, the Cowboys finished as the third worst defense in NFL history. Yes, they were ravaged by injuries to key players and guys like DeMarcus Ware and Brandon Carr did not perform above expectations, but injuries cannot be an excuse for Dallas as they have dealt with injuries for the past three seasons.
If the season started today, Dallas’ starters on the defensive line would be (from left to right) Anthony Spencer, Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, and George Selvie. While that defensive line isn’t bad, it simply isn’t good either. The Cowboys have been rumored to defensive tackle Aaron Donald and defensive end Kony Ealy in the first round. While both of those players would have more of an impact in their rookie seasons than Manziel, Donald and Ealy would not sell jerseys like Manziel would.
It may sound blasphemous, but drafting Manziel may not be such a bad idea at all. Troy Aikman won three Super Bowls in the 90s with the Cowboys and he had to retire at the age of 34 because of multiple back injuries. If you don’t find your future quarterback, it could set your franchise back years. The Cowboys learned that the hard way after it had to start the likes of Chad Hutchinson, Quincy Carter, and a has-been version of Drew Bledsoe. The interesting thing about all of this is that Romo is 34 and he has already had two major back surgeries. Manziel’s style of play might be unorthodox and gaudy, but there is a good chance the Cowboys will draft him if he’s available when they’re on the clock.