Barring a change of heart, the Dallas Cowboys are likely to supplement its already cramped quarterback room at some point during the upcoming 2021 NFL draft.
Team vice president Stephen Jones revealed as much Monday, saying, “certainly, we’ll keep our eye on” the position amid the mid-to-late rounds of the draft, which runs from April 29-May 1.
The Cowboys currently have four signal-callers under contract through next season: Dak Prescott, Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, and Cooper Rush. They will carry three, at most, on the 53-man roster when it’s finalized in September. The battle to become Prescott’s backup — to replace 2020 QB2 Andy Dalton — will be heated, and “competition” will be stressed, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.
“It’s definitely a position we’ll continue to look at,” McCarthy told reporters in a March 25 press conference at The Star.
To that end, Gilbert holds a leg up over the rest due to his impressive showing last season in which the former Browns practice-squadder and Alliance of American Football sensation completed 21-of-38 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a Week 9 loss to Pittsburgh.
But Dallas also has done its homework on the incoming class, dispatching McCarthy to the March Pro Day of Ohio State’s Justin Fields, a presumed top-10 pick, and QBs coach Doug Nussmeier to College Station for Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, a potential second-round pick.
Prognosticators believe the Joneses will emerge from the annual offseason spectacle with a new passer in tow. In an April 8 mock, the Cowboys were forecasted to use their compensatory fifth-round choice (No. 179 overall) on Texas and SMU product Shane Buechele.
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Ehlinger Details ‘Surreal’ Cowboys Meeting
If Dallas aims to pull from the draft pool for the second straight year, they not need look further than their own backyard. Ex-Longhorns starter Sam Ehlinger is a projected mid-round pick who confirmed he’s met with representatives from the silver and blue — a “surreal” visit that “went really well.”
“No, it wasn’t (owner and general manager) Jerry (Jones),” Ehlinger said last week, via 247Sports. “It was some coaches, and it went really well. Just being in the Texas area, growing up in Texas, it was kind of a surreal moment for me, being able to meet with coaches from the Cowboys. And obviously, I know that they’re a Super Bowl-caliber team, and it was a really cool moment for me to be able to meet with them and it was awesome.”
Ehlinger (6-1, 220) was a four-year contributor at Texas from 2017-2020. He totaled 11,436 passing yards, 94 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions across 46 games, chipping in an additional 554 rushes for 1,907 yards and 33 TDs.
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No Interest in Smith
Coinciding with the news of Alex Smith’s retirement, Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com reported Monday that Dallas’ front office “never really included” the former 49ers, Chiefs and Washington Football Team quarterback on its offseason “wish list.”
Fisher previously speculated on the Cowboys signing Smith — a “really good fit,” in his words — to station behind Prescott, the organization’s $160 million cornerstone.
“Alex Smith … knows this system because he knows all the systems,” he said last month. “[He] has played with [Cowboys head coach] Mike McCarthy when he was a rookie in San Francisco and is even admired by Dak Prescott. I think Alex Smith is a really good fit if you could find him affordable.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL