FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys began their draft meetings this week at The Star. They have needs all over their roster and there have been clues as to the direction they might go when the draft starts April 26.
The Cowboys have hosted some of the top wide receivers, linebackers, defensive tackles, offensive linemen and defensive ends on their top-30 visits. Quarterbacks were noticeably missing from their list of visitors.
It's not that the Cowboys haven't met with or had private workouts with quarterbacks. They have. But on their list of needs, quarterback isn't viewed as an early priority.
With Dak Prescott, the Cowboys believe they have their starter. They also like the potential of their backup, Cooper Rush, who won the No. 2 job after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan.
"We always look at taking one," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "I would. Maybe not necessarily first round, but to put another guy in the mix that competes and if we like the guy, then I could certainly see us taking a quarterback."
Since 2000, no team has selected fewer quarterbacks than the Cowboys.
Quincy Carter was drafted in the second round in 2001. Stephen McGee was picked in the fourth round in 2009. Prescott was picked in the fourth round in 2016. (Isaiah Stanback was selected in the fourth round in 2007 as a receiver.)
The Indianapolis Colts selected four, mostly because they had Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall picks in 1998 and 2012. The Denver Broncos, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers have selected the most at 11. The Washington Redskins have picked 10.
On average, teams have picked seven quarterbacks (6.97) in the first 18 drafts this century.
The Cowboys, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are the only teams not to take a quarterback in the first round since 2000. The Patriots have had Tom Brady as their starter since early in the 2001 season.
Go back to when Jerry Jones purchased the team, the Cowboys have selected only five quarterbacks: Troy Aikman with the first overall pick in 1989 and Bill Musgrave in the fourth round of the 1991 draft.
At the very least, the Cowboys need another quarterback simply because they don't have enough arms on campus. While they are sold on Prescott as the starter, would they be wise to select a future starter if things don't pan out the way they expect? While they like Rush as a backup, he has thrown only three passes in a regular-season game.
Early in Jason Garrett's tenure as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, the Cowboys valued the backup position by rostering high-priced veterans in Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton. Aside from the 2015 trade for Matt Cassel after Tony Romo broke his collarbone, the Cowboys have gone cheap at backup quarterback with Brandon Weeden, Kellen Moore, who is now the Cowboys quarterbacks coach, and Rush.
Had Romo not been injured in the 2016 preseason, Prescott would have been the fourth cheap option.
The Cowboys got lucky when they took Prescott with the 135th pick in 2016.
But that year the Cowboys telegraphed their intentions on taking a quarterback. Holding the fourth overall pick, they met with all of the top quarterbacks. They coached Carson Wentz at the Senior Bowl. They had Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch in for pre-draft visits.
Holding the 19th pick this season, the Cowboys will not be in the market for Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield. Lamar Jackson could be available when the Cowboys pick in the first round, but, to date, he has not visited the Cowboys.
But who is fooling whom? History says the Cowboys won't take a quarterback.