by Dallas Cowboys Mailbag, David Helman & Nick Eatman
I can’t help but notice all the uproar about the possibility of number changes in the NFL. Specifically, people are talking about Jaylon Smith switching to Tony Romo’s No. 9. Is that actually something that could happen, and would the Cowboys let him do it? – MITCHELL TYLER / TACOMA, WA
David: For starters, we won’t even know if the rule is approved until next month. The proposal, suggested by the Kansas City Chiefs, would allow offensive skill players, linebackers and defensive backs to wear many more numbers than they’re currently allowed to – yes, including single digit numbers. I personally would love it if the rule gets approved, and I absolutely do not care if Jaylon Smith wants to wear No. 9. The number is clearly very important to him. He wore it in college, and his current No. 54 adds up to equal nine. Speaking of No. 54, let’s please not act like No. 9 is sacred, when Jaylon is currently wearing the number of two all-time greats named Chuck Howley and Randy White. When you play for a franchise with so much history, there’s going to be some overlap – with very few exceptions, like Emmitt Smith and Bob Lilly. If the rule gets approved and Jaylon wants to switch, it wouldn’t bother me at all.
Nick: I’m not going to lie, I’m a little surprised this is actually a thing. I know it’s not a rule yet, but seems like it will be. I guess I’m a purist and don’t really want to see the changes. But I love college football and it doesn’t bother me that players wear just about any number. So it’ll be fine. But as for the Jaylon-Romo situation, it just seems a little unnecessary right now. For a guy that is telling media to “watch the tape” and someone we all wondered would actually be on the team this year, talking about changing numbers to become the first player to wear 9 since Romo seems like a stretch. I can hear fans now screaming “just be happy you’ve got a number at all.” But let’s not forget, Smith already wears a historic number – one that TWO Ring of Honor members have worn. But even though I appreciate Romo more than most, I don’t think his number is untouchable by any means. The simple fact that there are multiple numbers of 43, 22, 88, 54 and eventually 94 in the Ring of Honor, should tell you that 9 will go to someone else one day. But I doubt it’ll go to a player that is heavily scrutinized and needs to focus on getting his game back to a Pro Bowl level.
What do you guys think of a possible reunion of Feleipe Franks with QB coach Doug Nussmeier? A good project player for a backup to Dak. The kid has played for two different teams in the SEC. You probably won’t find anyone in this draft with his arm strength. – LARRY SHANK / ROCK HILL, SC
David: Nick is more qualified to speak on Franks than I am, since he spent last fall watching him closely. Just in general, though, Mike McCarthy seems to have that old school mentality that it’s always smart to draft a quarterback. During his 13 years in Green Bay, he drafted five quarterbacks and traded for another one despite having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in the starting lineup. It’s like a lottery ticket – you never know when it might hit. So despite having Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci on the roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if McCarthy sees a guy he likes and uses a Day 3 pick on a developmental quarterback.
Nick: I only watched him play for a season but I like him. And the fact he ran a 4.55 the other day – the second-fastest time for quarterbacks in this draft, is shocking to me. He did surprise me with his running ability last year. He’s so tall that once he gets moving, he’s a long strider and it’s 10-15 yards before you know it. But his arm is a cannon and I think he really grew into his own last year. You can’t look at his record and make decisions there. Franks would be a good option in the later rounds and someone that can get into preseason games and learn on the run. I like a QB for the Cowboys on Day 3 and this would be a good option.