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Mailbag: Does Spencer Tag Mean Fewer DL Drafted Early?


With the Cowboys putting the franchise tag on Spencer again, do you think they will still draft a defensive lineman in the first couple of rounds, or do you think they now go for a running back or other skill position?

Nick: You don't pass up on pure pass rushers. If there's an end who can get after the quarterback, I think you definitely consider it, even at No. 18. If Spencer returns, it'll probably be on a one-year deal anyway. And Ware is now 30 so it'd be a smart move to get a defensive end. As for running back, that's more of a mid-round pick in my opinion.

Rowan: The defense could still use a brawler in the middle of the line at tackle – someone who can be a force in the running game or create some inside pressure. There's no obvious answer for which player will line up next to Jay Ratliff as a starting tackle next season, so if that type of player falls to 18, I could see the Cowboys making a move. I also wouldn't be shocked to see them snag a pass rusher in the first few rounds while also grabbing a running back prior to the sixth round.

I disagree with the "best available" draft strategy. Wouldn't the Cowboys be crazy if they drafted a receiver at 18 if he was the best available?

Nick:I don't know if I'd call it crazy. But I know what you're saying – this team has bigger needs than that. And 18 is a tricky spot. Because it's not like a wide receiver will be considered a "can't-miss-player" or he wouldn't have fallen to 18. Personally, I'd pinpoint my needs and go best available within that group. So among the [embedded_ad] offensive tackles, guards, defensive tackles and safety – you can find best available in that group.

Rowan: I think it would be a poor move. I've said from the start this team needs offensive line before anything else. If the Cowboys picked best available offensive lineman, I would deem it a success. I could understand best available offensive lineman, defensive tackle or safety, at this point, but simply picking best available at a position where the Cowboys are well off doesn't make as much sense to me for a team that needs as much immediate help as possible.

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