Stanford’s John Elway headed up the ’83 draft, considered one of the best ever. It was deep in quarterbacks. Six were selected in the 1st round, and three of them (Elway, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino) made the Hall of Fame.
Elway was considered the prize, and he made it clear that he would not play for the Colts, who held the top pick. Elway played minor league baseball for leverage. Baltimore resisted all initial offers for him, until Denver went over GM Ernie Accorsi’s head and worked a deal with Colts owner Bob Irsay. According to then Cowboys scouting director Gil Brandt, Denver didn’t match Dallas’ offer of QB Danny White and two number one picks. White had led Dallas to three consecutive NFC Championship Game losses, but the brass felt Elway was the game’s next great quarterback and was willing to deal their starter.
Today, Dallas faces a similar situation with Tony Romo. He has an impressive statistical record, but there’s doubt among much of the Cowboys nation of his title-winning ability. This year’s draft looks rich in quarterbacks compared to recent drafts and is topped by Stanford’s Andrew Luck, the quarterback prospect considered by many scouts to be the safest bet since Peyton Manning.
Could the Cowboys find a way to the top of this draft? It would be a fantastic jump, and require many elements, starting with a willing partner in the top slot. In part two of this week’s chat with ESPN Insider K.C. Joyner, he discusses early metrics leaders, the Cowboys 2nd quarter of the schedule, and lays out one scenario which could give the Cowboys, and many other teams, a chance to find Luck.
Cowboys Nation: Tell us the metric leaders at key positions, quarterback, receiver. Is there, or are there any surprising names?
K.C. Joyner: Jason Campbell is actually playing really well for Oakland. I know he had that crazy play last week where the threw the interception where no receiver was anywhere nearby. But he’s over 8.0 in his overall yards per attempt and his vertical YPA is in the low double digits, so he’s playing extremely well. I think the Raiders are going to make the playoffs and he’s one reason why.
At running back, Ryan Matthews is playing well. So is Darren McFadden for that matter. On Matthews, his good blocking yards per attempt is almost double Mike Tolbert’s. And I know Tolbert’s a bowling ball, but Matthews on good plays has an 8.7 GBYPA which is a ridiculous number. They’re going to keep giving him the ball more often because when you have a back that productive, he’s just going to see more of the football.
At receiver, I did a piece for ESPN Insider this week on the Steelers and looked at Mike Wallace’s numbers and they’re ridiculous. He’s over 14.0 in overall YPA and he’s around 26.0 on stretch vertical passes. He’s catching over 80% of the passes thrown his way. No receiver right now is playing as well as he is.
CN: Something you’ve brought up in our chats over the years, is that you shouldn’t view games in isolation but as part of four-game groups. Dallas is 2-2. Let’s discuss what they could do over the next quarter.