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Mailbag: How Much Does An Improved D-Line Help?


With 11 picks in this year's draft and no way 11 rookies make the team, wouldn't it seem logical to use some of the picks to trade up in the first round?

Nick: That sounds like a decent plan. But I'm not sure there is a can't-miss guy you must have that will be in the 10-13 range. I think Aaron Donald is good but I wouldn't trade up for him. I prefer Anthony Barr a little bit more but still don't think I'd trade up for him. I'm sure there will be a good player up there, but I think I'd rather keep the third or fourth-round pick. To your question though, I'd be fine trying to find some veteran value around the league and trading a fourth or fifth-round pick for an established player, assuming you can absorb his contract.

Rowan: It depends what picks you're talking about. The draft will look the same as always for the Cowboys until the seventh round, when they get seventh picks. You can package as many of those as you want, no team's going to want a bunch of seventh-round picks in exchange for early ones. They may be able to package a bunch for a fifth or sixth-rounder, but I don't see the plethora of picks the Cowboys have as making much of a difference in the early rounds.

I'm beginning to think that fans think if we fix the D-Line, we're contenders. I think we need at least two good drafts since there are holes on both sides. Your take?

Nick:Contenders for the Super Bowl? Playoffs? This team doesn't need much to get into the playoffs. That's probably the case for about half of the teams that missed the playoffs last year. Obviously, contending for that and the Super Bowl is a different story. But I do think fixing the defense, or at least having it more respectable, is good enough to win a few more games. A few more wins has you winning the division and hosting a playoff game. At that point, who knows what happens. So maybe this team isn't as far off to [embedded_ad] getting up there as  you might think.

Rowan: It's a completely different team if there's a stud defensive line. That said, you might be right. Ideally, they'd be able to start fixing a lot of their problems quickly with a really good draft. They also need the young guys from recent drafts to take that next step – guys like Morris Claiborne and Tyrone Crawford and J.J. Wilcox. This wasn't a top 10 offense last year even with all the pieces it had on that side of the ball. There are a lot of areas for improvement, but getting a consistent pass rush would completely change the way this team looks and potentially give it a chance to compete.

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