The last time the Dallas Cowboys took a quarterback in the first round was in 1989. They drafted a young talented quarterback out of UCLA—that man was Troy Aikman.

For those unfamiliar with Aikman . . . well you probably don’t watch football. Aikman, now a sports commentator for Fox, is considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in Dallas Cowboy history.

With three Super Bowl rings, Aikman was well worth the Cowboys’ no. 1 pick in the NFL draft. He became a Hall of Famer and is now a recognizable face of the Cowboys brand.

It’s been 27 years since the Cowboys have taken a chance on a top-tier quarterback, and now is the time to take the leap. The Cowboys hold the fourth pick in the draft, and will without a doubt see a worthy quarterback within reach when it’s their turn on the clock.

Yet in the past, Dallas has hesitated to pull the trigger. Sure, the hesitation has led to some good players, such as offensive linemen Travis Fredrick and Zach Martin, but it’s also led to flops like Felix Jones and Bobby Carpenter and, arguably, losing seasons.

With 35-year-old injury-prone Tony Romo only getting older, the Cowboys have an opportunity to draft a successor before they are forced to.

There are quality quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL draft. Perhaps not as many as heralded as Aikman was, but nonetheless there’s a future starting quarterback amongst the group.

As usual, who that quarterback is, no one really knows. Some analysts like Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State; others are high on Jared Goff out of California.

Wentz has a big arm, and as Jacksonville State fans know, a knack for putting the ball in the right place at the right time. Goff is considered by many to be second to Wentz with similar abilities; his main weakness is his accuracy from time to time.

Dallas has a chance to draft a successor to Romo, who has shown over the past three seasons that his health is something that can’t be relied on—two of those seasons ended short with injuries.

With Romo at the helm in the 2015 season, the Cowboys were 3-1. Without him, they only managed to win one game.

In my opinion, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should insist on drafting a successor. More likely, it will take another losing season for Jones to realize how important a good quarterback is to a team.

Then again, Romo was an undrafted free agent before becoming the record-breaking quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, so what do I know.

Nathan Cavitt
Sports Columnist

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