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Mailbag: Drafting Offense In 1st Round? TE of Future Already on Roster?

MICHAEL LAYSAN DIEGO, CA

I felt that the Cowboys really missed Geoff Swaim's blocking down the stretch in 2016. Could he become that all-around tight end that can catch and block? Possibly even be the heir apparent to Jason Witten?

Bryan: I don't disagree with you about Geoff Swaim and what he meant to this offense during the season. There was a side of me that didn't believe he could be that all-around guy but I have since changed my tune. I am not sure he will ever have the physical size of Jason Witten due to his frame but his willingness is just as strong to get the job done. I do like the combination of Witten, Swaim and Rico Gathers if the front office doesn't decide to add one during the upcoming draft. There is a good balance there.

Rob: I agree, Swaim has promise. He didn't get enough credit for his pass-catching ability entering the draft because it really wasn't what he was asked to do in college. And you're right, the Cowboys had to get creative with their blocking on the line of scrimmage (guard/center Joe Looney) after Swaim went down for the season with a pectoral injury in November. I still think tight end is one of those positions the Cowboys should consider drafting in April if the value is there, though.

JERRY IOVINENEW YORK, NY

With the assumption that DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, Anthony Brown and Byron Jones will get a full (hopefully healthy) offseason to continue development, the defense could take a surprising step forward in 2017. If the draft board should fall a certain way, do you see the Cowboys taking a WR or TE in the first round? I know it's best to draft best player available over need, but are there exceptions to that rule if the team loses the majority of the secondary?

Bryan: I have always believed that they're open to taking who is on that board regardless of the position. In my studies, there is a good chance an offensive player will be the highest graded player and taking that guy is never a bad option.

Rob: I believe you have to draft best player available in the first round outside of a couple obvious spots that you know aren't needs. You just don't want to reach and miss in the first round, especially when the margin for error is smaller in the later part of the round where the Cowboys are slated to pick (28th).

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