What is the deal with Maurice Canady? He was supposed to be a good signing until he opted out for 2020. Is he really in the team's future plans and should he be? — PAUL KARAM / HOUSTON, TX
Rob: Canady opted out of the season last July due to the pandemic and went on that reserve list. His one-year contract tolls to this year, as I understand it. The Cowboys were excited about his ability to help on special teams, and maybe that will still be the case. They've got some core special teams players with expiring deals, including leading tackler C.J. Goodwin.
David: Rob makes a great point that Canady could be a nice insurance option if for some reason C.J. Goodwin doesn't return in 2021. If Goodwin does return, that gives you two really solid core special teamers, and obviously some nice depth in your cornerback room.
In light of the news that the NFL is changing the procedures for the NFL Scouting Combine, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Cowboys as they prepare for this draft? — DAN S. / WICHITA, KS
Rob: Same challenge facing every team: limitations in the scouting process, not just going forward but really the past few months. It can't be helped, and drastically changing the combine structure makes sense given the logistical and safety challenges still posed by the pandemic. But, while the organization had a successful draft last year despite working virtually, I do think it's easier to make evaluations – whether it's workouts, interviews or medical checks – when there's an in-person element to them. Same with any job interview you've ever had.
David: I'm starting to get really nervous about just how hamstrung the 32 scouting departments in this league are going to be. These guys didn't even have a normal year to evaluate prospects, when you consider the various ways that COVID limited the 2020 college football season. Now, they're going to have to get creative in meeting and evaluating all these guys without the structure of the combine. We said this last year, and I think it'll be even more true in 2021: the varying degree in evaluations this year is going to be off the charts from team to team.