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Mailbag: How Will New Changes Impact The Draft?


With the NFL Draft only three months away, how much is VP player personnel Will McClay and his staff going to have to change their draft board with possibly a new offensive and defensive scheme? - PAUL GRAY / ELCHO, WI

David: I don't think the offense is going to change that drastically, but I am fascinated by what this could mean for the defense. Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys are still going to play with four down linemen, but it's interesting to think how they could change their evaluations. Will this staff place more value on the safety position? Might we see them finally invest in a bulky nose tackle? How will their evaluations of defensive backs change, and what might that mean for existing personnel like Byron Jones and Jourdan Lewis? It's hard to know right now, but it will change the way they approach the draft. And that's exciting.

Rob: Same is too strong a word, but head coach Mike McCarthy indicated there won't be wholesale philosophical changes on offense, especially with Kellen Moore back as offensive coordinator. Regarding the defense, the draft could give us a better idea of what they're thinking from a scheme standpoint. It sounds like they're sticking with a four-man line. But McCarthy says his priority is getting as many talented players as possible and then fitting the scheme to their strengths.

McCarthy has had big nose tackles in the past, such as B.J. Raji when he was in Green Bay. Do you think he will incorporate a big nose tackle here, and how do you think that will help D-Law and Quinn (if he re-signs)? - JAMES JORDAN / CONVERSE, TX

David: Oh wow, it's like y'all coordinated these questions to go together. It's hard to say, because the Cowboys drafted B.J. Raji to play in a 3-4 defense, and McCarthy said last week the Cowboys will play more of a 4-3. But that doesn't mean he won't put an emphasis on upgrading the nose tackle position. Hopefully he will, because I do believe that could pay dividends in opening up more favorable matchups — not just for the Cowboys' pass rushers, but for their off-ball linebackers.

Rob: It's an interesting thought because smaller, penetrating defensive tackles were a hallmark of Rod Marinelli's scheme. We'll see what new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan prefers, but there's no question that stopping the run was a factor in games when the defense struggled during the season. They've got to find more consistency there.

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