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Mailbag: Likelihood of Drafting Safety High?

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I see every year that most teams in the playoffs have at least a top tier safety, a former first rounder, a pro bowler and in some cases an All Pro guy. Why have the Cowboys typically stayed away from drafting a high safety?– SALOMON SABA / LAREDO, TX

David:They've made it pretty clear over the years that they think they can address the position without spending major resources. Why? I have no idea, because it hasn't worked out very well for them. I think the philosophy around here is that a good pass rush makes your coverage look better. But to your point, teams all over the league are showing what you can accomplish with smart, versatile safety play. Hopefully the Cowboys are getting the memo.

Jonny: I think this comes down to a combination of opportunity, luck, and preference. It makes sense that each coaching staff has a couple positions that they're confident in evaluating for talent and fit within their system. I think you tend to see that play out in picks 15-32, where you have to nail the pick, but there are less no-brainers available. If you're a head coach, you don't draft a guy at 17 unless you personally know he'll be successful under you. If you're wondering whether Mike McCarthy is confident evaluating safeties, the Packers selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 21st overall pick in 2014.

With all the free agents the Cowboys have at the moment, who is someone you confidently see the Cowboys moving on from?– CORY EVERS / WHITE OAK, TX

David:I'd be pretty surprised if Tavon Austin were to return. It's not a knock against him, but I think his skill set could be replicated by a draft pick or a younger player. He hasn't managed to establish himself as a consistent option on offense, so I'm not sure I see the point.

Jonny:That's tough. I don't think there are any prominent players they won't consider bringing back once everything shakes out, but a player who is probably low on the priority list is Anthony Brown. He was injured last season, and he impressed an entirely different coaching staff before that, so there probably won't be any coaches vouching for him to step up into Byron Jones' role if Jones leaves in free agency. He may very well be back in Dallas, but if another team is interested, the Cowboys will likely let him walk while they figure a number of other things out.

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