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Cowboys Mailbag: April 9, 2012

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SEAN BURROUGHS DECATUR, GA: Will this year's first-round pick be expected to start right away?

Rob: The short answer is yes. From an ownership and general manager standpoint, I think Jerry prefers investing that much money in a guy who can start right away. The catch could be at a position like cornerback. Say they draft Dre Kirkpatrick or Stephon Gilmore. Would they start here as rookies? Probably not, but they might present the best available value. And that's part of Jason Garrett's input – drafting as purely as possible.

Josh: Depends who's doing the expecting. If we're talking about most fans and media, yes, there will be complaints if the guy isn't a starter in Week 1. But the Cowboys can take the best player available and only have him fill a situational role. An outside linebacker, for instance, might only play in clear passing situations. Dontari Poe might have the highest upside, but not necessarily be ready to push Jay Ratliff outside four months from now. The Cowboys need to just draft the guy who can best help the team this year and into the future. I don't think the guy absolutely has to start immediately.

DELONE CUNNINGHAM SAN FRANCICSCO, CA: If Terence Newman isn't picked up, do you believe he would be a good fourth cornerback for the Cowboys?

Rob:Would he be an upgrade over last year's fourth corner, Alan Ball? Yes. Do I see it happening? No. That player probably needs to play special teams, too. There were concerns about Newman's confidence and staying healthy as he approaches 34. And just think about how hard it would be for a nine-year starter and two-time Pro Bowler to come back to the team that released him as the fourth guy. Stranger things have happened here, but you've got to think the Cowboys turned the page for good.

Josh: No, they've moved on. The Cowboys should be drafting a fourth cornerback who they would be comfortable having as a top three guy in 2013, because there are no guarantees that Mike Jenkins will be back. Despite the signing of Brandon Carr, I think it's still a pretty high draft priority.

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