JERRY JONES: Not Drafting Johnny Manziel Went Against Everything That Made Me Rich

When Johnny Manziel fell to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 16 in the 2014 NFL Draft, everyone thought Jerry Jones would pull the trigger.

There may not be a more Jerry Jones type of player than Johnny Football. It was a surprise that he passed on Manziel and picked offensive lineman Zack Martin from Notre Dame.

In a big ESPN profile by Don Van Natta Jr., Jones makes it clear that he’s still seething at the fact that he didn’t pick Johnny.

“I am still so damn mad,” he told ESPN. “I get madder, every day, about missin’ him.”

He told Van Natta that he was the only person in the draft room who wanted Manziel, and that passing on him goes against the same risk-taking philosophy that made him buy the Cowboys in the first place

Jones told his son on draft night:

“There’s only one thing I wanna say — I’d have never bought the Cowboys had I made the kinda decision that I just made right now. You need to drive across the water rather than lay up. And we laid up for this one. … We just didn’t get here makin’ this kind of decision.”

Jones, who calls himself a “riverboat gambler” in the article, bought the Cowboys for $US151 million in 1989. Today they’re worth $US3.2 billion.

He told ESPN that the Cowboys needed to take a gamble on Manziel if they wanted to go out of their string of mediocre seasons:

“When we were on the clock, I said, if we pick the other guy — any other guy — it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons. The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That’s why I wanted Manziel, but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody … and I’m … not … happy …”

Manziel was taken six picks later.

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