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Mailbag: A Different Role For Jaylon Smith?


I have heard that the Cowboys were considering changing Jaylon Smith's role to more of a pass rusher role. Is that true, and how do you think this would affect where he lines up at? Would it mean he becomes more of a defensive end or continue to line up at ILB? Would this affect the draft or just a training camp experiment? — RANDY SEEDLE / WAKE VILLAGE, TX

Nick: I could see him being an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme. But on Tuesday, Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys will still play a 4-3 base defense. If they decide to utilize Smith more as a rusher, he'll probably be a blitzer from the middle of the field. Either way, I've said it before, finding out where Jaylon Smith best fits is the biggest priority for Mike Nolan and his defense this year.

Jonny: Jaylon's strength is in his ability to get to the ball quickly, so I wouldn't be a fan of converting him to a full-time pass rusher and I don't see that being the plan. I think you still want him involved in pass coverage assuring that short passes don't lead to long gains. But I would be fully on board with increasing the number of times they blitz him. The element of surprise could make Jaylon a dangerous pass rusher.

Let's have a little fun with this question. In a dream scenario, if the Dallas Cowboys were one player away, at any given position, who would you like to see them move up to get and why? — ANTHONY JOHNSON / O'FALLON, IL

Nick: Ok, I'll play along. If the Cowboys needed one guy from this draft to make them better instantly it would be Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. I guess to get him, you'd have to jump to No. 3. If you did that, you might as well go to 2 and get Chase Young. Either way, if you can get to the top three picks and land one of those Buckeyes, the Cowboys should do that to help themselves at either cornerback or defensive end. But like you said, that's a dream scenario. Ok, let's wake up from that. But yeah, good dream, until you got to the rest of the draft and you'd be out of picks!

Jonny: It's Chase Young for me, which would almost certainly require trading up to number two. Young is probably the most talented player in the draft. The Cowboys' offense is going to score points, and their defense is going to need a jolt of playmaking if it's not going to compromise things. Everyone can point to question marks on the Dallas defense, but if you have a guy like Young getting to the quarterback constantly, he can mitigate a lot of weaknesses.

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