The Cowboys might hold key to Rams first-round QB hopes

Remember how Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wielded so much power in the Rams getting approved for relocation back to Los Angeles?

Jones might hold some influence in another franchise-altering decision facing the Rams.

Like, say, whether they have a shot at one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft.

But more on that in a bit.

While Rams general manager Les Snead contended last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that football is a team game and the quarterback is simply a part of that team equation – all strong points, of course – what Snead didn’t explain is just how big a piece the quarterback is in that puzzle.

All you have to do is take a look at the most successful teams in the league to understand it’s a gigantic piece to be sure.

Which is why the Rams will operate this offseason with the intent of finally landing a quarterback they can comfortably march into the future with, and one they can plug in sooner rather than later on a team that has a number of strong pieces already in place.

This isn’t five years ago when the Rams selected Sam Bradford first overall and were forced to throw him to the wolves surrounded by a really weak supporting cast. The quarterback the Rams roll with will step into a situation in which budding All-Pro Todd Gurley is at running back, playmaking wide receiver Tavon Austin can line up all over the field, a young, improving offensive line is in front of him and a playoff caliber defense is in place.

In fact, it can be argued the Rams are a consistent, dependable quarterback and a No. 1 wide receiver away from legitimately contending for a playoff spot.

Which brings up back to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, and how big a part he plays in the Rams securing their quarterback of the future in the first round.

Three quarterbacks are projected to go in the first half of the first round: North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, Cal’s Jared Goff and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.

After a strong showing at the combine last week, Wentz seems almost a lock to go to the Cleveland Browns at No. 2.

This is where it gets a little tricky.

The San Diego Chargers select third, and with Philip Rivers in place it makes little sense they’d draft a quarterback.

Now come the Cowboys at No. 4.

Does Jerry Jones put off drafting the heir apparent to Tony Romo another year, despite Romo’s long injury problems, and roll the dice Romo will can stay healthy? Or does he proactively secure Romo’s replacement by investing the fourth pick in the draft in Cal’s Jared Goff?

If they draft Goff – and plenty of mock drafts have them doing just that – then Lynch is the next man up and it’s hard to imagine him sliding past the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7.

And if that happens, the Rams will likely look at a different position with their 15th pick overall.

On the other hand, if Jones decides on a more immediate impact player at No. 4 – like, say, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack – then the 49ers would likely draft Goff with Lynch sliding to 15 for the Rams.

So, as you can see, the Cowboys hold some important cards in the Rams getting their quarterback in the first round. And there are cases to be made in both directions why Jones should – or shouldn’t – invest such a high pick to secure Romo’s replacement.