If you want a franchise quarterback, you'd better draft him in the first round.
There are many examples of quarterbacks drafted later becoming some of the best in history, but there are many, many more examples of picks amounting to nothing.
The Cowboys aren't likely to take a quarterback at No. 4 overall Thursday night, but they are a candidate to move back into the late first round for one. If they opt to wait until the later rounds, there will be a few interesting players to consider:
Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State
Ht. 6'4", Wt. 231, Arm: 32 ⅞", Hand: 9 ½", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.94, 10 yd.: 1.80, 3 Cone: 7.17, Vertical: 31", Broad: 9'5"
After transferring from Florida to N.C. State, Brissett started every game for the Wolfpack for two years, completing 60 percent of his passes for 5,268 and 43 TDs against 11 INTs. He also rushed for nearly 900 yards and 9 TDs, earning all-conference honors last season and a trip to the Senior Bowl.
• Pros: Ideal size, pocket presence, arm strength, ball placement, anticipation, confidence
• Cons: Mechanics, feel for pressure, flat/frenetic feet, progressions
Brissett needs reps with NFL coaching to fix a few mechanical issues, but he has size, athleticism, arm strength and makeup to become an NFL quarterback. He had a chance to impress the Cowboys coaches at the Senior Bowl, and he could hear his name called by them in the middle rounds.
Verdict: Round 5
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Ht. 6'3", Wt. 218, Arm: 32", Hand: 10 ⅛", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.78, 10 yd.: 1.65, 3 Cone: 6.90, Vertical: 32.5", Broad: 9'5"
Andrew Luck was a tough act to follow in Palo Alto, but Hogan performed admirably. In his four years starting for the Cardinal, he completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 9,385 yards, 75 TDs and 29 INTs and added 1,249 yards rushing with 15 more TDs.
• Pros: Size, intelligence, toughness, athleticism, on the move, feels pressure, deep ball
• Cons: Arm strength, mechanics, drops eyes v. pressure, pocket presence
Hogan went into his senior season looking undraftable, but he significantly improved his stock. Although he still winds up at times, he shortened his release and clearly made an effort to improve himself as a player.
Verdict: Round 6
Jake Rudock, Michigan
Ht. 6'3", Wt. 207, Arm: -, Hand: 9 ¾", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.85, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: 7.06, Vertical: 29", Broad: 9'3"
A graduate transfer from Iowa, Rudock joined the Wolverines after the hiring of coach Jim Harbaugh. After a slow start, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,017 passing yards (second best in school history) and 20 TDs against 9 INTs.
• Pros: Confidence, athleticism, footwork, poise v. pressure, arm strength, ball placement
• Cons: Frame, missed open throws, lacks elite traits, body of work
Rudock showed marked improved in his sole season under Harbaugh, capped by an efficient Citrus Bowl performance against Florida where he made some wow throws. He showed more promise than several highly-regarded prospects, but did so in less than one season under a quarterback guru.
Verdict: Round 6