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Mailbag: Assessing All Of The Rookie Defensive Linemen



There's a lot of rookie bodies this year at defensive line, but who are the top four rookie DL candidates and in what order?

David: Fun question. The first name off the board has to be DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys traded a pick for him, and they're hoping he can contribute right away – he doesn't have time to ease himself in. Behind him, I've written before about how much I like Ben Gardner and what he could do if healthy. Davon Coleman was undrafted, and his ability to play different spots along the line makes him intriguing. Lastly, I'd say Ken Bishop. Dallas spent a draft pick on him, but there's several bodies above him in the one-technique pecking order.

Rowan: I think David's list sounds about right. Lawrence is far and away the top candidate because of where he was drafted and what they expect of him. You could pretty much jumble up Gardner, Coleman and Bishop in any order after that as basically 2a 2b and 2c, but I'll put them Coleman, Gardner, Bishop in that order. That could easily change with some good performances at training camp.

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If you could choose one position or player to improve upon for the upcoming season, what or who would it be and why?

David: I feel confident the offense doesn't need my help, so it's got to be a defensive player or position. The defensive line is the obvious trouble spot, but I'm not sure one player could make that much difference. With Sean Lee out, I'd want a total monster like Patrick Willis or Luke Kuechly to bolster that linebacker corps.

Rowan: There's a lot to choose from defensively, and I'd probably go with defensive end. The Cowboys won't win many games with an absent pass rush, and there's just more questions than answers as to how the Cowboys are going to rush the passer this year. An elite pass rushing defensive end would help this group out immensely, and there are a lot of young and budding stars at that spot throughout the league the Cowboys will have to face this year.  

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