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Mailbag: Golston's Role? NFC East Closing The Gap?


With defensive end being an immediate need, do you see Chauncey Golston as a possible and significant contributor to filling that need? I ask because there has been little mention of his name. They must have seen something to have invested a draft pick on him. – FRED LONDON / MORRISTOWN, TN

Nick: He's going to have to step up this year. I think Golston is one of a handful of draft picks from 2021 that really need to shine. Even with Armstrong back, Golston has similar skills and will need to be included in the rotation. He's a pass-rushing end who can slide inside and also play special teams. I think the Cowboys are counting on his development to take them to the next level and from what I saw last year, he could take that big leap if he stays healthy.

Rob: I don't think Golston will be asked to fill that need alone. I still expect them to sign/draft help to replace Randy Gregory. But yes, the coaching staff was excited about Golston going into training camp and unfortunately the hamstring injury set him back early in the season. He did show signs of being an impact rusher once he got rolling, though. Yeah, he's going to be part of the puzzle.

With the cap-related attrition to the Cowboys roster, New York and Philadelphia each having multiple first-round picks and Washington getting Carson Wentz, I can't help but draw the conclusion that the rest of the division will close the gap on the Cowboys next year. Any reason for me to think otherwise? – PETER MALLIRIS / EUGENE, OR

Nick: They probably have closed the gap. But here's the thing, it's a pretty big gap. It was a three-game lead over the Eagles, five games over Washington and eight games over the Giants. I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned but just because those teams might get a little better, it doesn't mean the Cowboys won't be the favorites to win the division again. I think they've got the best quarterback in the division and I think they've got the best defensive player as well. You obviously need more than that but I think Dallas is still the best team in the NFC East.

Rob: I still think the Cowboys are the best team in the division on paper, mainly because Dak Prescott is still the division's best quarterback in my opinion. And they've still got a nice foundation on defense, despite Randy Gregory expected to sign with Denver. But there's no denying there are a lot of gaps to fill on offense, defense and the kicking game in order to stay competitive within the entire conference. There's also time to do that, though at the moment I wonder about the depth at wide receiver, defensive end and now offensive tackle following La'el Collins post-June 1 release.

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