ROB RIGGIERI JR.
With Dallas already thin at LB, can you really trust the draft (even with 10 selections) to shore up this void? Especially with the glaring health concerns of both Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith? If they do put their faith in the draft, has linebacker become a clear-cut No. 1 need on Day One of the draft?
Bryan: There are some really good linebackers in this draft. On The Draft Show we've talked about trading up for a guy like Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds. Others that would be available throughout the draft are Rashaan Evans, Josey Jewell and Leighton Vander Esch. So there are options at the position.
David: If the draft was today, you'd be absolutely right. But the draft is not today, and we know how the Cowboys operate. They like to sign stop-gap free agents that can do the job in a pinch, before they try to upgrade the position in the draft. If I had to bet, I think they'll sign a modestly-priced free agent linebacker sometime in the next few weeks. With that hole addressed, I think they'll then draft a linebacker in one of the early rounds of the draft to solve their depth concerns.
With the news of Tyrann Mathieu's release, and the Cowboys' glaring need for a safety, doesn't it make sense for the Cowboys to make a push for him? He is a young, talented player with a ton of potential and football ahead of him. I understand the approach in recent years of not spending on FAs, but this seems like the perfect match and solution to a huge need.
Bryan: I have always been a huge fan of Mathieu from his days at LSU. When you watch him play he's a very scheme-specific player. He's not a true safety. He's a hybrid player that plays in the slot and covers guys. He's an outstanding blitzer attacking the pocket. Where he has struggled is as a tackler. He tends to give up the big plays now due to his tackling. The Cowboys need a true safety that can play deep and use his range to help the corners. As good as Tyrann Mathieu at football, this is not his game.
David: Don't look at me, because I'd be all for it. Mathieu is still a young player, as he's about to turn 26. When he's been healthy, he's been one of the better safeties in the league. If I were making the decisions, I'd be trying to find a way to get this done. But I think, even though he was just released, Mathieu will still command a high price on the free agent market. I'm guessing the Cowboys don't want be aiming to spend as much as it would take to land him.