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Dallas Cowboys VP explains Johnny Manziel combine interview

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Call it a mixed case of due diligence and faint hopes, but the Dallas Cowboys' interview of Johnny Manziel at the NFL Scouting Combine was the club's way of being prepared in case the red flags on the former Texas A&M star cause him to tumble to the second half of the draft's first round.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told the Ben and Skin radio show on Tuesday night that Manziel falling to Dallas -- however unlikely -- wouldn't necessarily prompt them to draft the wunderkind.

"You certainly have to look at him in terms of if he were to fall, where he would stack up with the other options," Jones said. "It's in no way saying that we're going to interview him because if he falls we're going to take him. We just have to know that if something were to happen, obviously he can be a polarizing character, so you have to be prepared."

Clubs can't interview everyone at the combine, so they have to be judicious about whom they choose.

Jones cited the Green Bay Packers' foresight to draft quarterback Aaron Rodgers late in the first round of the 2005 draft while veteran Brett Favre was still enjoying a productive career as the finest example of why a team like Dallas -- with a proven but aging veteran in Tony Romo -- should be prepared to secure its future at the position.

So what would it take for Johnny Manziel to fall into Dallas' lap?

Six teams with significant quarterback needs precede Dallas in the first round: Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota and Tennessee. It's certainly not far-fetched to suggest that Manziel could be the third quarterback chosen, behind UCF's Blake Bortles and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. Nor is it far-fetched to think a couple of those teams might address a different position in the first round and hope to grab a quarterback like Derek Carr or AJ McCarron later in the draft to fill its signal-caller need. But both those scenarios would have to conspire just for Manziel to fall far enough to reach the Vikings at No. 8 or Titans at No. 11.

Nevertheless, if Manziel ends up being the first round's "can't believe it" free-faller, Dallas will have a combine interview to lean on.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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