How many starters could Dallas realistically get in the draft this year?
David: Well, just last year we saw the draft produce two regular starters in Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams, as well as a handful of starts from J.J. Wilcox and DeVonte Holloman. But some drafts can be even better. All four of the Jets' top picks last year – Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith and Brian Winters – started 12 or more games as rookies. I think the more reasonable expectation is one or two players – preferably among the early picks. But crazier things have happened.
Nick: That's a tough question to answer so far away from the draft. And, are we talked about starters next year? Or starters in general? You'd love to draft all starters eventually, but we know that's not realistic, especially around here. Realistically, getting two or three guys who could start next season would be great. Obviously your first-rounder has to start and the second- and third- should be able as well. But it depends on the position, of course. A defensive tackle has a shot to crack the starting lineup and maybe an end, depending on Ware and Spencer's situation. Safeties can compete for a spot and the same could be said for a guard. If this team has three starters on it by the middle of next season it'd be a huge win.
Going a little against the grain here, but with the salary cap rising more and more before the start of the year, does it make it easier to let Hatcher, Spencer and Ware walk? Maybe it would let us be a little active in free agency and bring in a few players at all need positions?
David: It's got to be nice for the front office to have a little more room than had been expected, but that doesn't really affect their fortunes as much as you'd think. They're still a good bit over the cap, even with the increase, so they're still going to have to finagle some finances. Also, Hatcher and Spencer's contracts are up, so they don't' affect the salary cap unless they were to re-sign with the team. If anything, the bump in the cap might make it more feasible to bring Hatcher back – but that's going to depend a lot on what other teams are willing to offer him.
Nick: You could go the other way and say the extra room helps them keep some of them. But I see your point and it's a valid one. Personally, with Jason Garrett returning this year for probably one last hurrah, coupled with Romo and Jason Witten getting closer to the end, I don't see this as a blow-up year on any side of the ball. The defense was so bad last year and now we're going to get rid of Hatcher, Ware and Spencer. If you were starting over at all spots, then I can see that reasoning. But since it appears like they're just hanging on, I say you hang on with at least Ware, maybe Spencer.