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Cowboys Mailbag: January 25, 2012

/ Editor's Note: Each weekday,'s writers will field two questions from the fans. Click here to email your question now. **

Philip Dougherty - Springfield, MO: Orlando Scandrick got a big contract, but does that really mean the Cowboys think he can start on the outside, or will he stay in the slot?

Rob: I understand every defense needs at least three quality corners nowadays, but I believe Jerry Jones gave Scandrick $10 million up front to be a starter at some point. Despite what many people seem to think, he has handled the slot position pretty well, so if Terence Newman indeed isn't back there's always a chance they try to sign a veteran corner and create some competition on the outside. The draft is certainly a possibility, too. But right now I think Scandrick and Mike Jenkins are your 2012 starters.

Josh: I would imagine Scandrick opens training camp as the starting left cornerback. That could change sooner or later depending on how early the Cowboys draft a cornerback, and how quickly that guy surpasses Scandrick, if ever. I wouldn't dismiss Scandrick's potential as a starting corner in the NFL, though. The guy really has done a pretty nice job as a slot corner, which is the toughest position in the secondary, and he's only going to be 25 in February. He's still got upside. That's what the Cowboys bet on when they gave him that extension, five years and $27 million. That's really not outrageous money, and after the new TV deal comes through and the cap jumps dramatically, it could wind up being an incredible bargain.

Steve Naclerio - Hartsdale, NY: How many of the Cowboys' needs can be directly attributed to the awful 2009 draft, which was tied in to the just-as-bad Roy Williams trade?

Rob: Look at the linebacker position in particular from that class: the Cowboys spent three of their first four picks on ILB Jason Williams and OLBs Victor Butler and Brandon Williams. Butler is still here and could be in the mix for a starting job if Anthony Spencer leaves via free agency, but the recent selections of Sean Lee and even Bruce Carter are directly tied to missing on Jason Williams. Don't forget those are guys that should have helped Joe DeCamillis on special teams, too. 2009 has certainly impacted the roster's current depth, and referring to the Williams trade, it's simply much harder to have a good draft without a first-round pick.

Josh: I don't know – all of them? If just some modest combination of Jason Williams, Robert Brewster, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Smith, Mike Hamlin, Mike Mickens and Manny Johnson could've played, the Cowboys could have spent their picks differently over the last couple drafts, and this coming draft, too. The Roy Williams deal put them behind the 8-ball to start that draft. There's no doubt about it, from the bad contracts they dealt out in the 2008 offseason through the 2009 draft, this team made some awful, awful decisions that they're still paying for years later.

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