As far as owners/General Managers go Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is one of the most colorful.
In the pursuit of being the owner/manager of “America's Team” Jones has made some
questionable choices that over the years, decisions that have harmed the franchise's ability to win football matches.
Often though these mistakes were at least the result of being too bold or chasing the exciting headline. Whatever you might say about Jerry Jones and the Cowboys you wouldn't say that they were dull or uninteresting.
Historically, Jones has been overaggressive in his draft strategy neglecting the less glamour positions that a true championship contender needs. In the last few seasons however the mistakes have shifted from ones brought from being aggressive ones to conservative ones.
In the 2013 draft the Cowboys took center Travis Frederick with their first pick. Presumably, Frederick was the best player left on the Cowboy's big board. His selection was the cautious and bizarre decision however, because ultimately someone playing center can rarely do enough to justify a first round pick.
But 2013's over cautiousness was nothing compared to the tentativeness exhibited by Jones in the 2014 draft.
The Cowboys had the 16th overall pick in the draft. Looking at the holes on the Cowboy roster the thinking was that the Cowboy's would look to strengthen on defense with defensive tackle, defensive end and safety all being areas of interest.
When the Cowboy's were put on the clock at pick 16 however something unexpected happened. Media darling and Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel was still available.
If you were going to take a rookie quarterback out of central casting and tailor him to Jerry Jones' tastes you would struggle to come up with a better candidate than Manziel and the exciting brand of football he delivers.
As it transpires the Cowboys were big fans of Manziel as well with Jones admitting after that he was the number one player left on their board.
Jones chickened out however. Instead of drafting the blockbuster Manziel he took the cautious option and drafted offensive tackle Zach Martin instead. Jones and the Cowboys are going to regret this decision for years to come.
Firstly, it is, for good reason, well established football orthodoxy to take what you see as the best player on the board rather than pick for need. By this logic then the Cowboys should have had no hesitation in drafting Manziel.
Secondly, the only reason why you wouldn't take Manziel is because you have a ridiculous amount of faith in Tony Romo. The thinking behind this move can only be that Tony Romo is a quarterback who over the next four to five years will still be capable of leading the Cowboys deep into the playoffs and potentially to a Superbowl.
The chances are however, that this isn't the case. Romo is now 34-years-old and has just come off two back surgeries in eight months. Romo's best days are behind him.
Even if issues of age and fitness are to be put aside however. Even if we are to assume that Romo is as good as he was five years ago that doesn't change the fact that Romo was never that good. Don't get me wrong Romo was a great fantasy quarterback but his real-life performance has never come close to matching his fantasy one.
Romo has never delivered either in the playoffs or in games where a playoff berth was on the line. In the playoffs Romo's record is three wins one defeat.
We can discuss until we are blue in the face over the degree of responsibility that Romo deserves for this but ultimately Romo's record is poor and nothing can change this
Romo wasn't good enough/didn't have the team around him to win when he was in the prime of his career so how much of a chance is there that he will be able to do it aged 34 with a dodgy back? Answer: there isn't.
When Manziel was available at pick 16 the Cowboy's should have thanked their lucky lone star and drafted him. With that decision they could have begun the process of building a competitive team over the next few years. As it is they have simply cast themselves in the playoff-less wilderness.
Then to add insult to injury Zach Martin, the man they chose over Manziel, accidentally injured defensive star Sean Lee in practise. I'd say the Cowboys and Jerry Jones are regretting not drafting Manziel already.
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