Tony Romo's successor as the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback might be in the 2014 NFL Draft, and NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt, who served as the Cowboys' vice president of player personnel from 1960-89, believes the time is right to find him. And by Brandt's logic, other clubs with successful-but-aging veteran quarterbacks like the New England Patriots might as well be on the lookout, too.
"Romo's days as an effective signal-caller eventually will come to an end, and the Cowboys would be wise to prepare themselves ahead of time by looking for his successor now. That process starts in the draft," Brandt wrote. "... When I was with the Cowboys, we were habitually trying to find somebody to groom behind our starting quarterback, whether we were adding Roger Staubach and Craig Morton behind Don Meredith or adding Danny White behind Staubach."
Draft experts have built something of a consensus that the draft's elite quarterbacks don't project as well as, for instance, Andrew Luck did as the top pick of the 2012 draft. We've heard time and again that from Johnny Manziel to Teddy Bridgewater, from Blake Bortles to Derek Carr, they all have their flaws. But there is no shortage of intriguing quarterback prospects who could be available on the second or third day of the draft. And for clubs that aren't in need of a rookie quarterback to step right in, that's where the value at the position lies.
But Dallas won't be anywhere near alone in the hunt:
Four quarterbacks from the SEC alone -- Alabama's AJ McCarron, Georgia's Aaron Murray, LSU's Zach Mettenberger and South Carolina's Connor Shaw -- could provide an easier transition for the Cowboys or any other team facing age-driven turnover at the position. Along with Savage, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo, Clemson's Tajh Boyd, and San Jose State's David Fales deepen things even more. And don't forget about Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, the project NFL clubs might not consider field-ready, but would love to tinker with in the garage for a year or two.
Perhaps, just in time for someone to retire.