Not to hate on the two new additions and the wondrous powers of Rod Marinelli, but don't you think signing a potential starter or two might be important? I know the money is tight but there has to be somebody out there who we can plug and play and won't break the bank.
Rowan: They're certainly putting a lot of eggs in the Rod Marinelli developmental basket. We turn to George Selvie as an example of what the right system can do to a player's career, but we often look past the numerous other players the Cowboys brought in to help on the line and cycled right out shortly after. I think the Cowboys have decided with their cap situation the way it is, they're not going to overspend on any veteran free agents this offseason. That means piecing together all parts of their defense. But I do expect they'll keep talks going with players like Jason Hatcher and Henry Melton as long as they're unsigned. No doubt people would feel more comfortable with at least one recognizable pass rusher, and it's a huge risk to assume a bunch of contributors will be enough.
David:I've got no doubt that the front office is having conversations with players, and has been since free agency opened. The problem is that the guys who you'd consider to be obvious starters don't fit into the Cowboys' tight cap situation. So I think they're trying to find the balance between bringing in impactful players and being responsible with their money. I don't think they're done signing free agents, but the guys they bring in might [embedded_ad] not be the type who get your heart racing with excitement. If they can strike the right deal with a guy like Henry Melton, I think they'll pull the trigger. Otherwise, the draft is where I'd look for big names.
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With DeMarcus Ware gone, would you still want to draft Aaron Donald or would it make more sense to go after a defensive end – someone like a Dee Ford or Kony Ealy?
Rowan: I think they need to take the best available player on the defensive line if he's available. Ford and Ealy can both be huge additions for the line, but I like Donald more than either of those players for this defense. The need might be greater now at end than at tackle, but they could still use a stud three-technique who can get up the field. Donald provides that and seems to be a more sure bet, despite his lack of size.
David: I've been asking myself that since we heard Ware had been released. It's not like we expected Ware to be a 20-sack player in 2014, but the defensive end spot suddenly looks really, really thin. But the problem is that the number of surefire, first-round picks at defensive end is really small, whereas you have a couple of more realistic options at defensive tackle. I'd feel better about taking Donald at No. 16 than either of the guys you mentioned, or they could always trade back and try to stockpile a few prospects. Someone is going to call for the Cowboys to trade their future away for Jadeveon Clowney, and while I think he's a great player, I think that's an absolutely terrible idea.