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Mailbag: Navigating A Virtual Draft This Year?

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Been reading a bit on how teams are preparing/have prepared for the draft, so to me the most pressing question is how do the Cowboys navigate the draft with the restrictions in place, especially with a new coaching staff? BRIAN K / PHILADELPHIA, PA

Nick: I think they're doing exactly like the other teams, at least similar concepts. That's the real unique thing about the situation our country is in – everyone has the same restrictions. So there are a lot of teleconferences and virtual meetings taking place. A lot more phone calls and texts than usual, I would imagine. The one big change I think you'll see in the draft process is probably less picks on risky players because it might be harder to do as much as background checks and interviews as before.

Rob: As Nick said, all teams are having to deal with these unprecedented circumstances. It's wild to think that your average fantasy football draft requires teleconferencing among friends, and now we're talking about those types of logistics with the real thing. But since it's in the name of social distancing and shelter-in-place, I'm all for it. From a preparation standpoint, I do think the Cowboys' stability in the front office and scouting department is an advantage. Yes, Mike McCarthy's coaching staff is largely new, but the Joneses and VP player personnel Will McClay have built a staff around them that hasn't changed much the last few years.

I really liked Michael Bennett being on the team and was wondering if there's any update with him being a free agent? – SAM CAVANAUGH / MCVEYTOWN, PA

Nick: I just think the Cowboys are probably going to weigh all options at this point – which they already have – and then when it gets closer to the season, that's when you can fill some voids with players out there. I would imagine he'll still be out there. I don't think Bennett has officially stated that he wants to come back and play. He did hint at retirement and usually teams are very cautious on players that are already thinking about that. It seems to me the Cowboys are going to give it a shot with Aldon Smith and perhaps Randy Gregory – if they get reinstated. I would bet a defensive end is drafted as well.

Rob: No real update, other than there have been reports that Bennett would like to keep playing. There was some question about whether he'd want to come back for a 12th NFL season after playing on several different teams, including the Cowboys, the last few years.

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