POINT AND COUNTERPOINT: Kyle Orton’s status should alter QB draft plans | With or without Orton, drafting QB isn’t crucial

POINT AND COUNTERPOINT - Kyle Orton’s status should alter QB draft plans - With or without Orton, drafting QB isn’t crucial Rowan

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys need to know about Kyle Orton’s future before next Thursday.

That’s not a request or a threat from the team, it should just be more of a courtesy on Orton’s part as the Cowboys prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft and decide whether or not to select a quarterback.

If Orton’s not on the roster in 2014, that changes the scope of the quarterback situation in Dallas significantly, particularly with 34-year-old Tony Romo coming off back surgery. The Cowboys could use both short and long-term options behind their franchise quarterback.

If Orton’s not on the roster in 2014, the Cowboys’ backup behind Romo will either have 23 career touchdown passes and 26 interceptions (Brandon Weeden) or three touchdowns passes and 10 interceptions (Caleb Hanie). Orton, with 83 touchdown passes and 59 interceptions, provides comfort and stability that the others on the roster don’t.

If Orton’s not on the roster in 2014, the Cowboys have to know now or in the next week. They need to start thinking about the future of the position if Orton’s no longer an option.

Romo’s going to be the quarterback in Dallas for the foreseeable future and is being paid handsomely to do so. But Orton’s presence determines when and whether or not the Cowboys should start thinking about grooming another young quarterback who can potentially take over in a few years.

If Romo were to experience more back issues and Orton’s gone, Weeden’s the new starting quarterback. And there would be no young, promising, highly-touted backup behind him if the Cowboys don’t address the position at some point in the draft.

The Weeden deal made sense. They wanted to get a chance to develop the former Cleveland and Oklahoma State quarterback on an affordable contract because they liked him out of college. He provides NFL experience at a good rate as a backup, but the 30-year-old can’t really be groomed as a long-term option as a future starter.

There should be multiple choices available in the middle rounds of this year’s draft at quarterback, from Aaron Murray to Jimmy Garoppolo to Tom Savage to Zach Mettenberger and David Fales. By selecting one outside the first couple rounds, that player wouldn’t need to be forced to step in immediately unless dictated by injuries.

If Orton stays, grabbing one isn’t essential. But if Orton’s gone and Romo can’t stay healthy, it’d be encouraging to know if Weeden’s starting at quarterback that there’s another young option available for some point in the near future.

The Cowboys don’t want to be stuck in another situation like they had in the early 2000s, with a revolving door at the most important position on the team.

At 31 years old, Orton’s got enough good years ahead of him that the Cowboys wouldn’t need to search for their future quarterback just yet. But if his future remains in the balance, now’s the time to select and start grooming a young quarterback they can keep on the roster alongside Weeden.

Courtesy: Rowan Kavner

POINT AND COUNTERPOINT - Kyle Orton’s status should alter QB draft plans - With or without Orton, drafting QB isn’t crucial Eatman

IRVING, Texas – First of all, let’s get this out there: I think Kyle Orton will play this year.

He has yet to miss anything that is mandatory. And if he truly doesn’t love the offseason work, he certainly wouldn’t be the only veteran player in NFL history to feel that way.

Of course, if he’s so tired of football to the point he’ll give back $3 million, then that would indeed put him in a very small (and maybe even crazy) group of players in the history of this game. When it comes to large sums of money, it’s usually a one-way street.

So, that being said, I could see Orton coming back once again and being the No. 2 quarterback.

However, even if the feeling here at Valley Ranch was Orton would not be returning next year, I don’t think it means you’ve got to draft a quarterback.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of taking one, unless you can absolutely see a role for him. I hear all the time how fans want the Cowboys to just take a quarterback “in the third or fourth.” Yeah, that sounds good, but maybe I just remember Stephen McGee and how having a project like that actually affects the roster.

Whether or not he’s ready to play, he’s going to make the team. That’s three quarterbacks now on the 53-man roster. With the injuries this team has sustained over the last few years, they can’t afford to have a third QB just sitting there being inactive every week.

So let’s get to some real names. The third or fourth round would include guys like LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray – both SEC guys who had knee injuries last year but should be cleared for camp. It also includes David Fales from San Jose State, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron perhaps and possibly Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage.

Again, we’re talking about quarterbacks and there’s a chance many of these Top-10 passers are gone by the end of the second round.

But even if they last to the third, I’m not taking one for the Cowboys. I doubt they’d come in and be better than Brandon Weeden. So that means they’re not going to be No. 2 even if Orton sits out. And if Orton does play, now you’re forced to keep the draft pick.

Isn’t this why you got Weeden in the first place? It’s a free look at a guy you had a second-round grade on two years ago. Forget about his age – he won’t be playing for the next 4-5 years anyway.

To me, Weeden is your mid-round quarterback to take a chance on and you can do that without using a draft pick.

The reason I’ve gone this far without mentioning Tony Romo’s back injury is because I just don’t see the point of discussing it in terms of the draft. Romo’s back really doesn’t affect it to me. If it flares up on him, you don’t really want to call on a rookie anyway, right?

If Romo’s back prevents him from playing more than a couple of years down the road, then it’s likely you’re going to draft someone next year when the crop of 10-12 can’t-miss quarterbacks are ready to get picked.

To me, I’ve always thought you take a quarterback when you really need one.

Now, if you’ve got a player on your board in the later rounds, sure take him and see if he can develop. Obviously, that’s how the starting quarterback got here 11 years ago.

But when it comes to draft picks, I’m not going there this year, regardless of what Orton decides. Even though I’ll be shocked if that decision isn’t made.

Courtesy: Nick Eatman

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