Jerry Jones really, really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel with the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft earlier this year. We already established that when we heard the story about Stephen Jones having to restrain Jerruh so he wouldn’t pass in the draft card with Manziel’s name on it. But you still might be surprised to hear how badly Jones feels his team needed Manziel.
As part of a lengthy profile for ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Jones told Don Van Natta Jr. that he wanted Johnny Football to call America’s Team his own so the Cowboys could remain relevant.
“If we had picked Manziel, he’d guarantee our relevance for 10 years,” Jones said shortly after the draft. “When we were on the clock, I said if we pick the other guy — any other guy — it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons.”
Offensive tackle Zack Martin, the player the Cowboys ended up taking at No. 16, can’t feel too great about that. Neither can Tony Romo, though Van Natta also witnessed Jones joking around with his starting quarterback about his obsession with Manziel.
“And what is amazing, if there’s anybody on this planet that could’ve handled Manziel competin’ with him …” Jones said with his arm draped around Romo’s shoulder. “This guy could handle any damn thing — this is your fighter pilot. This is your fighter pilot. This is the guy you want goin’ in, droppin’ and winkin’ at ‘em, and comin’ out, and drinkin’ beer. This is him. So he could handle it. It wasn’t a question of not handlin’ it.”
Manziel couldn’t beat out Brian Hoyer for the Week 1 starting job, so he certainly wasn’t going to beat out Romo. Still, Jones absolutely loves him some Johnny Football.
“The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team,” he added. “That’s why I wanted Manziel but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody … And I’m … not … happy … .”
Browns and Vikings fans need to watch out — Jerruh is coming for your biggest superstars.