Mailbag: How Big Of A Need Is LB?; Better To Draft Defense Or RB First?

MARCUS JONESMEMPHIS, TN
How high of a priority do you think linebacker is on the Cowboys' list of first round talent? It was widely reported last year that linebackers like Khalil Mack, Ryan Shazier and Anthony Barr would have been the team's pick if available plus they did lose three key contributors to free agency.

Bryan: Barr and Mack were graded as defensive ends in this scheme. Shazier would have been a linebacker, so if selected he would have played there which leaves the question – would they have taken Hitchens? I differently feel that linebacker is in play here for the draft. Have sent a coach to workout Eric Kendricks from UCLA who I have more as a 2nd round type of talent but at 27 you are likely selecting players with 2nd round grades anyway.  

David: I'm going to sound like a broken record, but it's true – it all depends on how the board plays out during the course of the first round. If the best guy left when pick No. 27 rolls around is a linebacker, like Eric Kendricks for example, then take him by all means. I don't view linebacker as a big enough trouble spot where they have to take a first-round pick, but the position could certainly use some upgrading – particularly in the middle.

BEN MENDEZGLADEWATER, TX
Do you think that it's best for Dallas draft defense in the first round and still get a good back in the second round, or better to get one of the top two backs in the first round and then go defense?

Bryan: If Gurley is there at 27 I am going back first – if not I would go cornerback first, then worry about the runner at 60.

David: Yeah, Todd Gurley is pretty much the only running back I'd be interested in taking 27th overall. I don't think that will happen unless the Cowboys trade up, though. There are too many teams in need of a running back – San Diego, Detroit, Arizona – to think Gurley would fall that far, in my opinion. It sounds far more logical to draft a defender in the first round and try to upgrade the running back spot later on.

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