Which guys were forced into significant playing time this season that give us a sense of relief that we've found either a fringe starter or a reliable reserve for the next couple or few years? I'm thinking something along the lines of Donovan Wilson secured a starting S spot we can feel good about, or we've got swing tackle secure. — CHRIS MCKAY / RALEIGH, NC
David: Donovan Wilson is the obvious answer, but I am encouraged about the opportunity Connor McGovern got this year. Perhaps he can push for playing time next summer -- or at the very least, provide really quality depth. Another name I'd mention is Neville Gallimore. He didn't look quite ready at the start of the season, but he really impressed me with what he was able to show as he got used to the speed of the pro game.
Nick: Not so fast, Dave. If there's an "obvious" answer it would be for the guy we actually discussed being snubbed for the Pro Bowl. I think the answer is Dalton Schultz. We didn't really know if he would make the team back in training camp. He is moved into the starting role after Jarwin's injury and he becomes the fourth TE in Cowboys history to record 60 receptions in a season. His numbers are equal to Evan Engram (NYG) who made the Pro Bowl with 63 catches, 654 yards and 1 TD. Schultz had 63 catches, 615 yards and 4 TDs. Regardless what happens with Jarwin, we know Schultz was a reliable target.
No one quite knows the compensatory pick formula, but it looks like the Cowboys will get several comp picks for guys like Byron Jones, Robert Quinn, Randall Cobb and perhaps even Jeff Heath. That could leave them with as many as nine or 10 draft picks this spring. With that in mind, what do you think the best strategy for the 2021 draft is? Draft all of those players or trade some of these for more expensive, more established players (think Quinn trade)? I have struggled with the use of draft capital for years and wondered your thoughts. — CHRIS BARKEMA / STORY CITY, IA
David: Wonderful question, and something that will be fun to talk about in the coming months. It's hard to give a real answer until we know for sure what they're working with, but the Cowboys definitely look like they'll have a lot of ammunition in the coming draft. If they actually wind up with 10 draft picks, I love the idea of shipping some of those away for some veteran talent. That's a way you can improve this roster in short order.
Nick: In the past, I thought this roster was talented enough where I wasn't sure 10-11 rookies would come in and really make the team. But I think that could happen this year. There's plenty of room to come in and contribute right away. So that's why I could see the Cowboys using their picks and trying to get as many young guys in here right away. That being said, 10 draft picks is a good number, especially since there's a chance to have multiple third-round picks and maybe two in the fourth. Those are the kind of picks that can help you move from 10 to perhaps 7-8 in the first round, or definitely move up a few spots in the second round. Also, I've always been a fan of trading for veterans in the last year of their contract. The value is low but the upside can be pretty high. So it's way early to speculate what they're going to do but the options are open with these extra picks.