Jimmy Johnson wants the Dallas Cowboys to maintain the status quo in 2021 — with a caveat.
The Hall-of-Fame former Cowboys coach and current FOX Sports analyst advocated for the team to nab a “franchise quarterback” with its potential top-10 NFL draft pick.
“I don’t expect them to have this high of a pick in the draft in the future. So I would not bypass a franchise quarterback in the draft,” Johnson said Tuesday night before Dallas’ Week 13 road game against the Ravens. “Quarterbacks are valuable. Go ahead and take one if one’s there when you’re picking.”
“Mike McCarthy is the right guy for the job.”
Hall of Fame former @dallascowboys HC @JimmyJohnson believes in McCarthy despite the Cowboys 3-8 record. He also thinks Dallas should still consider taking a QB in the NFL Draft if they finish with a high pick. pic.twitter.com/VtJkbTyhyd
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 9, 2020
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The Cowboys taking a QB likely in the top-10 next April would mean incumbent starter Dak Prescott, unsigned beyond this season, is not in their future plans.
The club wouldn’t pass on sorely needed defensive help for a signal-caller unless the latter is locked into QB1 duties. But Johnson believes a rookie can — and should — co-exist with the veteran.
“The number one priority? They’ve got to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term contract,” he said on the FOX pre-game show. “Not a franchise tag, because that will eat up too much of a reduced cap.”
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Dallas Projected to Go QB in Mock Draft
Interestingly, Johnson’s opinion and subsequent reasoning align with a recent mock draft which predicted the Cowboys select BYU QB Zach Wilson with the No. 4 overall choice. Via Pro Football Network’s Matthew Valdovinos:
The first surprise of this 2021 3 round NFL mock draft, Zach Wilson makes his way to Jerry World. Despite the Cowboys already possessing an elite quarterback, it’s hard to ignore the combination of Dak Prescott’s injury, how far the two parties were in contract talks last season, and the Cowboys sitting in a position to take one of the top quarterbacks in college football this season. I believe paying Dak Prescott is the only correct choice, but I wouldn’t put it past the Cowboys to make a business decision like this.
Wilson possesses an above-average arm with impressive ball placement down the field. He uses his natural athletic ability to create plays out of structure and push the ball down the field. This selection would also help Jerry Jones save face by not forcing him to give Prescott a mega-extension that he avoided last year. Considering how poorly Dallas’ needs match the 2021 NFL Draft class’ positional strengths, this could become a real possibility.
It’s important to note that mock was published before Dallas’ Week 13 loss to the Ravens. They entered the game at No. 5 overall but it’s certainly possible the team finishes with a higher pick — perhaps as high as No. 2. In that scenario, Ohio State’s Jake Fields, the second-best QB prospect behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, likely would draw consideration over Wilson.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL