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Mailbag: Depth Concerns At Two Positions?


The Cowboys obviously invested heavily in the linebacker position this offseason. Do you think Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch will be the Week 1 starters alongside Micah Parsons, or do you think the newcomers will supplant one or both of them? — MITCH GRAHAM / ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Rob: Yeah, I do. Now, who gets the most snaps over the course of an entire game an season? I think that's yet to be determined. So often last season we only saw two linebackers on the field because offenses spread them out. The Cowboys keep referring to Parsons' rush ability, so maybe he also pitches in at a designated pass rusher role and that's how snaps are spread around a little bit.

Jonny: I would definitely assume that Vander Esch and Smith will start Week 1. You're right that the Cowboys invested in competition at linebacker, but I don't see anyone stealing a job from those two in training camp. That said, if one of them can't stay healthy or isnt performing up to expectations at some point in the season, it's possible Jabril Cox could come along fast enough to earn a starting job. But more likely that investment was with the focus on keeping options open in the future.

What are two positions that you feel the Cowboys have good talent at but could use more depth? — WALT DE BELL / TROY, NY

Rob: The obvious one is adding more experience at backup quarterback. To this point that hasn't happened. Center depth behind Tyler Biadasz looks light because Joe Looney hasn't been re-signed. Connor McGovern can play the position but mostly has been working at guard. I'm a little tired of talking about the safety position, to be honest. Donovan Wilson showed he might be a viable long-term starter and the Cowboys signed three veterans who can play the position, including Damontae Kazee, who led the league in interceptions a couple years ago. They focused more on cornerback and addressing the defensive line/run defense in the draft, and I have no problem with that.

Jonny: Would it be cheating to say quarterback? They have an elite quarterback in my opinion and I don't know that I would trust any of the backups to win two out of three games if they had to fill in for three weeks. Other than that I'd probably say defensive line. There's no doubt there's talent there. But a few unproven players have to prove themselves before I consider that a deep position.

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