Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t afraid to take risks, which is why it’s no surprise he wanted to take Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with his team’s first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Jones, whose son needed to stop him from selecting the former Heisman Trophy winner with pick No. 16, ultimately decided to take offensive tackle Zack Martin from Notre Dame. Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns six picks later.
“If we had picked Manziel, he’d guarantee our relevance for 10 years,” Jones told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in May. “When we were on the clock, I said if we pick the other guy — any other guy — it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons.
“The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That’s why I wanted Manziel, but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody … And I’m … not … happy … .”
Even though Manziel would have created a lot of buzz for the Cowboys, this team doesn’t need Johnny Football to be relevant. “America’s Team” already receives plenty of attention from the national media, and that isn’t going to change as long as Jones is the owner. He’s very outspoken and goes out of his way to bring attention to his team.
As for Jones’ “more 8-8 seasons” comment, the real reason for the Cowboys finishing with that record in each of the last three seasons is poor defense, not lackluster quarterback play. Dallas ranked 30th in pass defense and 27th in rush defense last season. Teams rarely make the playoffs with a defense that bad.