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Mailbag: Having High Hopes for Clinton-Dix?

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Why is the staff not giving Devin Smith an opportunity to show case his talent, looked good in preseason to me, with speed. More chances in 2020?– JAMES MCGEE / ABILENE, TX

David: It was really baffling to me that, even in weeks when Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were both slowed by injury, the old coaching staff stopped giving Devin Smith a chance. I don't have a great answer for you. I'd be happy to see him get a new opportunity with Mike McCarthy's staff. But I'd also love to beef up the talent level at wide receiver. This is a loaded draft class, and the front office would be smart to take advantage of that.

Jonny: The Cowboys got more production from their first, second, and third receivers last season than most NFL teams, so I don't know that there was any world where Smith would have gotten more opportunities than he had, but I do think he'll get more chances next year. We all assume that the Cowboys will attempt to replace Randall Cobb at some point in the draft, but rookies aren't always ready to contribute right out the gate so that slot receiver spot will be a role that Smith has a shot at grabbing for himself.

Do you all have high hopes for HaHa Clinton-Dix's production level? He's been playing for a long time, but pretty consistently.– MIKE BRADLEY / ATHENS, GA

David: I'll be interested to see how this goes. From what I've learned of his playing style, Clinton-Dix looks likely to give up some plays — but he also has ball skills that have been lacking in the Dallas secondary for years. If he can contribute a handful of takeaways, it'll hopefully make up for whatever shortcomings he has in his game. I don't know that he'll make the Pro Bowl, but I think he'll be a solid starter.

Jonny: I'm cautiously optimistic about what Clinton-Dix can provide to the defense. To your point, he's been a competent safety in this league for quite a few years now, and I tend to think that coaches understand the potential and limitations of their former defensive players better than they do offensive players. Look at the defense Sean McDermott has been able to build in Buffalo by cherry picking his former Carolina players or what Mike Zimmer was able to get out of Terence Newman at the end of his career. McCarthy drafted Clinton-Dix in Green Bay and he clearly trusts him.

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