By Will Martin
Simply put last Thursday night May 8 at Radio City Music Hall was the highest rated Round 1 anticipated draft for fans across the world. Like trying to determine the outcome of a predetermined wrestling match you never can tell the truth from the proverbial swerve that owners will try to throw at the media.
Back on January 8 I commented on what Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys might wish to ponder if Johnny Manziel was available for drafting. I certainly thought so and my guess is many of you did too. Often it is with wonder whether or not prime time programs like this are watched for the drama to accompany or the proclivity for a train wreck that no one sees coming?
All the BS Mock Drafts aside Clowney rightfully went to Houston. In a surprise of sorts Blake Bortles went to Jacksonville at #3. Florida kid stays put, good for him and hopefully good for the franchise. All of a sudden you heard the murmurs.
I had my feelers out at AT&T Stadium as fans began to wonder about two destinies colliding with Johnny Football and the Dallas Cowboys. Just picture those digitizing peeps getting a huge windfall of work!
Oakland picked fourth and went with OLB Khalil Mack followed by back to back Aggie acquisitions for Jake Matthews going to Atlanta and Mike Evans going to Tampa Bay as outside tackle and wide receiver.
Would history be made with a trifecta of College Station pulchritude beauty? Cleveland was on the clock next at 8 after trading down with the Raiders.
In a word, no! Cornerback Justin Gilbert was taken by the Browns.
The tweets, the posts, and the anticipation began to build. Trying to go inside in Jerry’s mind I asked, ‘Are you going to pull the trigger on this one or are you really sure that Tony Romo is going to be your guy for the future?’
Now my phone and Ipad began to blow up. People began to ask me what I thought might happen. I reminded everyone what I said back on January 8th in this very space. From a financial standpoint it surely made perfect sense unless…you had off the field character issues that would prove to be the undoing for the 21-year old kid.
Anyone remember what all the ‘experts’ said about Ryan Leaf versus Peyton Manning back in 1998? Yeah, I thought so…
Pick #11 the Titans took a Wolverine tackle, the Giants took LSU Wide Receiver Odell Beckham. The talk grew even louder. Of course leave it to the cameras of ESPN and NFL Network to keep panning out to the entourage of Johnny Football as his smirk went from cocky to confident to fidgety to oh s^%& now what?
Immediately my mind flashed back to 2007 and Brady Quinn. He was in for a long afternoon before the Cleveland Browns took a chance on him.
Onward and upward went this draft. Earlier in the day no less a few people in my inner circle told me, ‘Jerry will not go after Johnny Manziel at 16.’ Beat writer Clarence Hill was even adamant about it not happening. Imagine the fear in my editors eyes when I got texted from pick ten to 15.
‘Dude, if Jerry picks Johnny Valley Ranch and Frisco now becomes TMZ Central with the occasional Mary Hart inference’. Inwardly I was waiting to see Twitter and Facebook blow up if that were to happen.
Roger Goodell: ‘With the 16th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft…The Dallas Cowboys select…Zack Martin…Tackle…Notre Dame’.
I remember how smug Mike Mayock was to diss Jerry Jones last year when picking Travis Frederick last year. This time around Mayock called this Martin pick, ‘a safe, smart pick for the Cowboys. Martin can play multiple positions and started 53 straight games at Notre Dame’.
Protection for Tony Romo’s backside….shock…silence….relief…and a report to file…
It was reported that once the Cowboys pick was made ratings fell precipitously. Johnny Football went the route of Brady Quinn when finally picked 22nd by the Cleveland Browns. Now it looks like Josh Gordon won’t be around in the fall due to off-field stupidity.
In retrospect maybe Twitter should have blown up and shut down. Jerry Jones was true to his word and went the route of steak. The Dallas Cowboys certainly contain enough sizzle. I applaud whom Jerry Jones picked. His post Round 1 press conference was a hell of a lot shorter compared to last year. The consensus being that Jerry wasn’t done pulling the trigger on trading up or down in the subsequent rounds.
On a day when torrential rains hit the Metroplex I joked that Tom and Tex were in heaven saying “NO!’ to Johnny Football. That March 18th day in 2006 was eventful when Terrell Owens was brought on. T.O. with a December 7th birthday. One day after Johnny Manziel.
Then again maybe I was right all along. Maybe AT&T stands for ‘Amen Tom and Tex’.