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Mailbag: Most Versatile Player On The Team?


I have a simple but intriguing question: is cornerback Jourdan Lewis the most versatile athlete on this team? — JOHN WALKER / AUSTIN, TX

Rob: Lewis is a good answer because we've seen him contribute a little on offense in addition to cornerback. Injuries sidelined Tyrone Crawford for most of last season, but when he's healthy he can play any defensive line position. How about Zack Martin? He has only played guard in the NFL, but I believe he could be a Pro Bowl caliber tackle or even center if he set his mind to it.

Jonny: That's interesting. I'd say he's a candidate, for sure. In terms of pure physical abilities, Jaylon Smith and Zeke are far from one-dimensional athletes. It's also pretty safe to say that CeeDee Lamb falls in that category. Lewis adds instinct to his quickness and that's why he's able to really shine in certain moments. But my pick would probably be Michael Gallup. He's barely over 6 feet tall, but his ability to pace his speed according to the play and catch balls in creative ways is pretty remarkable. Go back and watch his three touchdowns in the regular season finale against Washington and tell me who on the roster has a better command over his athleticism.

We hear so often about a college player having to add muscle and strength when he comes to the Cowboys, as with other teams. Why does there appear to be such a wide gap between the quality and effectiveness of strength training even by the major college football powerhouses as compared to that of the NFL? — FRED LONDON / MORRISTOWN, TN

Rob: I wouldn't say there's this major gap between college and pro. What happens in a normal year is, rookies spend the first half of the year training on their own in preparation for the draft. When they get drafted, they're joining their new team's offseason program a few weeks late, and then the regular season is much longer than a college season. A lot of times, young players are just trying to maintain their weight and strength during that rookie season. That's why we always say that a player's first full NFL offseason is very beneficial. Also, when guys get to the league, they're not trying to balance football with student life anymore. This is their job and career.

Jonny: It really just comes down to the fact that college football is a giant pool of great players and the NFL only allows in the best of those players, so the gaps are significant in speed, skill, and especially strength. College staffs aren't trying to prepare their players for the NFL. They are trying to make sure they are strong enough to compete against other college players. It's no knock on a player who is drafted without the strength to compete in the NFL. It's on him and his new coaching staff to get him ready for the next level.

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