Tony Romo is 36, and increasingly banged up, and it’s time to start thinking about his replacement. It was no surprise that Dallas entered the draft planning to take a successor, but the surprise afterward among the Cowboys’ front office was who they ended up with: Dak Prescott, their third choice at QB.
According to The MMQB, which has a pretty intense rundown of the Cowboys’ draft room goings-on, Dallas had Memphis QB Paxton Lynch 12th overall on their draft board. But after grabbing Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4, they believed they had no shot at Lynch being available when their turn came up again in the second round.
So they offered their second- and third- round picks to a bunch of teams to try to trade back into the late first round. But here’s the rub—that offer was meant to be decreased. Once they had a trade partner on the hook, the Cowboys planned to reduce their offer to a second and a fourth. The Seahawks, sitting at No. 26, would have gone for the 2 and 3. They refused to go for the 2 and 4.
“I live with second-guessing and disappointments,” said Jerry Jones. “That’s a part of this business. But if I had to do it all over again? I’d give the three.”
Denver jumped in, offering the 31st overall pick plus a third-rounder. Seattle made that deal, and Lynch is now a Bronco. And Jones is filled with regrets.
Jerry Jones went to bed at 3 a.m. the next morning and woke up three hours later. He told the first six people he saw that he didn’t do enough for Lynch. He was upset.
“I have overpaid for my big successes every time,’’ Jerry Jones said. “I probably should have overpaid here.
The Cowboys instead used their next picks on LB Jaylon Smith and DT Maliek Collins, and if either of those guys works out—and if Lynch doesn’t—Jones will feel a lot better. Sometimes (and we rarely know how often) it’s the trades you don’t make that turn out best.
But Dallas still wanted a QB, and set its sights on Michigan State’s Connor Cook in the fourth round. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the rest of the NFL knew they wanted him too. According to the Dallas Morning News, both the Raiders and Bears attempted to trade with the Browns, drafting one spot ahead of the Cowboys, to snag Cook. The Cowboys caught wind, and attempted to trade with the Browns too, but Oakland’s offer—a 4 and a 5—won the day. Oakland took Cook.
The Cowboys settled for Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott with their second fourth-round pick, toward the end of the round. And though they tried to tried to spin it—“we actually think there may be a little more upside in Dak”—it’s always a little disappointing not to come away with two higher-graded options.
“When it was all said and done,” Stephen Jones said, “there were some guys we liked more than others. We worked hard a couple of times to get a couple of guys we didn’t get.”
Drafts are weighted crapshoots and nobody really knows anything for sure. Prescott may end up being the right guy to replace Romo. But the Cowboys didn’t think so going into it.