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Mailbag: Can The Defense Be "Good Enough?" Best Draft Class In A Decade?

CONSTANTIN DUHAMELPARIS, FRANCE
Aside from some limited individual success from Claiborne and McClain in the last two games, does this year's Cowboys defense not resemble the "No-Name" defensive line and rather porous secondary from a couple years back? If so, is it realistic to contend for a playoff spot, presumably through winning the division?

Bryan: I don't think the defense is playing terribly. They've been able to create turnovers and are averaging two sacks a game. They just need to weather the storm until they get DeMarcus Lawrence back and figure out what they are doing at Mike linebacker. As long as they're able to keep teams from scoring – they should be alright.

David: I know the Redskins piled up some big yardage last weekend, but this group would have to try awfully hard to be as terrible as that 2013 defense. That group was just bad. I think this defense is a bit more talented and a bit more experienced. No, they're not great – but they're capable of being middle-of-the-pack. If these guys can be decent-to-mediocre, rather than awful, the Cowboys should have a shot.

THOMAS JONESAUSTIN, TX
Is it absurd to count this Cowboys draft class as potentially the best in the last decade?  Dak and Zeke appear to be future long term starters at key positions, Maliek is already contributing, Anthony Brown and Darius Jackson look like outstanding late round picks and we haven't even seen potentially the most talented of the group in Jaylon Smith.  Too optimistic?

Bryan: No it's not wrong to feel that that way. It would have been nice to have Smith for the year, but if he was healthy before the draft you would have had to draft him in Elliott's spot. I agree with you about Collins but not so sure about Tapper – especially with Ronald Blair on the board for them in the third round.

David: I don't think anything you said is wrong, it's just way too soon. Typically, you want to evaluate a draft class after two or three years – not two or three games. I would remind you that Joseph Randle looked like a steal of a draft pick following the 2014 season. So let's stick with cautiously optimistic, but the early returns look good. 

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