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Dallas Cowboys need to think of life after Tony Romo


The Dallas Cowboys have hitched their wagon to Tony Romo. Owner Jerry Jones has made that abundantly clear.

Romo, however, will be 33 years old in April and is in the latter half of his career. That fact brings a sense of urgency to Dallas to win sooner than later. It also forces the team to think about the future.

"You would like to have a young guy to try to bring along, certainly," quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson told ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth's Calvin Watkins.

The Cowboys last selected a quarterback in the 2009 draft when they took Stephen McGee in the fourth round. Isaiah Steinback was a fourth-round pick in 2007. Those are the only two quarterbacks drafted since Romo joined the team in 2003. McGee is gone. Kyle Orton is the No. 2, but he isn't in the long-term picture. Nick Stephens is a practice-squad player and isn't in the mix either.

The early talk of the 2013 draft is how it offers a weak quarterback class. We'll see how that plays out, but there aren't many high-end prospects worth the risk of an early pick. But a middle-round quarterback could certainly develop in the time it takes Romo to play out the extension he'll get soon.

By comparison, the Green Bay Packers drafted five quarterbacks between 2002 to 2008 when Brett Favre had entered the latter stage of his career. Craig Nall, Ingle Martin and Brian Brohm didn't pan out. Matt Flynn didn't play much, but he earned a big free-agent deal from the Seattle Seahawks. They hit gold with Aaron Rodgers.

Tom Brady is example No. 1 of how a late-round pick can mature. The time to search for those guys isn't when you're desperate for a quarterback; it's when you're secure in the position.

And how many of the upper-echelon quarterbacks are on a team that didn't draft them? Drew Brees, but there was an injury concern. Peyton Manning was released after 14 seasons and numerous neck surgeries. Matt Schaub was stuck behind Michael Vick on the Atlanta Falcons before thriving with the Houston Texans. The legal system precipitated Vick's move to the Philadephia Eagles. We can add Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to that list, but that's it.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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