IRVING, Tex. -- The Dallas Cowboys are on the hunt for a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft like never before.
But they have needs across the board following a 4-12 finish in 2015. Still, the Cowboys truly believe they will be a contender again in the 2016 season with the return of a healthy Tony Romo.
Vice president Stephen Jones said a potential franchise quarterback trumps all. At least that's his feelings right now.
"I mean you have to look at it," Jones said. "You're not naive to it but if you have the opportunity in this league, in our situation, to get a potential franchise quarterback, then you have to make the investment. You have to have the patience. You sacrifice maybe that opportunity that maybe is impactful right now."
But the Cowboys also believe that Romo has a few successful years left and hope to win big while he still going strong.
"He may play three or four more years," Jones said. "If that were the case that is great because that means he is playing for three or four more years. That means we are successful."
Of course, arguably the best way to help the Cowboys be successful with Romo still at the helm is to use the fourth pick to take an immediate impact player at a position of need.
The Cowboys have huge needs at running back, linebacker, defensive end and cornerback and there could be players there to help them win in 2016 like Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack to name a few.
But there is also a good chance that either Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz -- the top two quarterbacks in the draft -- would be still on the board as well.
The Cowboys are certainly going to do their due diligence on the quarterbacks.
Head coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys were able to get an early look at possible quarterback prospects from the first round to the middle round at the Senior Bowl last month when the staff served as the coaches.
"We did get a chance to see four quarterbacks down at the Senior Bowl," Garrett said. "We thought that was a good thing for us in the evaluation process. That will continue here. We will interview a number of the guys over the course of the next few days.
"We will see them work out. We will go visit them. We will work them out ourselves. We will go to their workouts. We just want to learn about the guys. We don't want to talk about who we are picking when. It's way too early for that. We want to evaluate the players as best we can at quarterback."
The Cowboys got an up close and personal look at Wentz at the Senior Bowl along with USC's Cody Kessler, Stanford's Kevin Hogan and Louisiana Tech's Jeff Driskel.
Now the Cowboys will get to analyze them all side by side at the combine.
"There is a lot to like about (Wentz) and the other quarterbacks we got a chance to spend some time with down there," Garrett said. "Rarely do you get a chance to spend six days with these players. We saw them on the practice field. We saw them in meetings. We saw them in game situations. It's a really important piece of evaluation. I really feel like we handled it the right way as a coaching staff -- and took advantage of it, not only with Carson but the other quarterbacks. That was a piece of it. This is a piece of it. We will get a chance to see them throw in a workout setting relative to some of the other guys. We will get a chance to visit with them in interviews. Each of those guys you have to delve into."
There is no question the Cowboys will use the draft to pick a developmental quarterback for the future. What is not clear is which one and in what round.
Garrett says they are still too early in the process to know.
"You have to be careful about over-strategizing the draft at this point," Garrett said. "We came here to get to know the players. You always want to have a young quarterback in your program that you're developing. For a lot of years Tony was that young quarterback and he was in his prime. We had some other young quarterbacks who we were trying to develop. We'll evaluate the players in this draft to see if anybody, at any position in this draft, can fit those criteria as we go. It's very important not to talk draft strategy now, not to get into draft strategy now - it's important to evaluate the player. We're just getting to know these guys."