Did Cowboys wait too long to pick QB in 2016 NFL Draft?

For just the fourth time in 25 years, the Dallas Cowboys have drafted a quarterback.

Coach Jason Garrett signaled the decision -- no smokescreen on this one -- as far back as the NFL Scouting Combine in February. And it's not as though the need wasn't clear enough to anyone who watched the club go a hapless 1-11 without injured starter Tony Romo last season.

The question now becomes, did they draft one early enough?

In choosing Mississippi State's Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft on Saturday (No. 135 overall), quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson got an accomplished, strong-armed and athletic apprentice for Romo. And one that NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt saw as a fit for Dallas two months ago.

Did the club wait a bit too long in the draft to make its QB move?

In the last 15 years, only one of 20 quarterbacks drafted in the fourth round has made his way to the Pro Bowl: former Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard. And of the most recent five prior to Prescott -- Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Tom Savage, Logan Thomas and Bryce Petty -- all have yet to notch their first career start.

Of course, successful NFL quarterbacks picked later than the fourth round can be found; heck, Romo himself was undrafted, and the New England Patriots' well-known sixth-round investment in Tom Brady proved to be a franchise-changer. Buffalo Bills starter Tyrod Taylor isn't as strong an example as a former sixth-round pick, but a notable one.

The Cowboys attempted to trade up to draft Memphis' Paxton Lynch, but were unable to strike a deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Team owner Jerry Jones lamented the decision.

"When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time," Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it. And I probably should have overpaid here."

Dallas also tried to trade up for Michigan State QB Connor Cook, but had that plan foiled by the Raiders, who traded up a spot ahead of the Cowboys in Round 4 to take Cook.

Both Lynch and Prescott came from spread offenses, playing from the shotgun virtually full-time in college, and thus will require more development as pros to be proficient in a pro-style system. Garrett, for one, isn't putting any early pressure on Prescott.

"Again, he is developmental from the standpoint that he is young and he has to learn how we want to do things, but there are a lot of tools there and a lot of great character qualities that you love," Garrett said, per the Cowboys' official website.

The Cowboys' recent draft history at the quarterback position is sparse. Prior to Prescott, the club's last three drafted quarterbacks were Stephen McGee (2009), Quincy Carter (2001) and Bill Musgrave (1991).

If Romo remains healthy, Prescott will have the luxury of learning behind one of the NFL's best passers.

If not, the world will get to see Prescott's development play out on the biggest of stages, and sooner than expected.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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