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Mailbag: Need Impact Starter At No. 4? How To Decide 'Best Player Available'?

SHAUN RODVOLDCOLORADO SPRINGS, CO

I keep wondering if it is better to potentially draft a Pro Bowl caliber player fourth overall who starts immediately, or does Dallas risk taking a quarterback fourth overall knowing that he could be the heir apparent three years from now?

Bryan: I have said this several times now, if one of those quarterbacks is the highest player on their board - take him regardless when he might play. You only want to have this opportunity one time because of a poor record.  

Rob:It's a great debate, and ultimately the decision will come down to their evaluations, which obviously are still ongoing as we sit here in mid-January. Recent league history says the franchise quarterbacks are taken high in the draft – mostly in the first round, a few second-rounders, maybe an occasional third- or fourth-rounder. The Cowboys have invested so much in Tony Romo that they've got to put the best team around him possible, but if there happens to be a quarterback highest on their board when they're on the clock, personally I think it's a rare opportunity that would be difficult to pass up. You could argue making that pick would be for the future in one sense, but on the other hand, you would hope that a first-round quarterback could be a capable backup for Romo pretty quickly, too, which would fill a present need.

MIKE WALKERWEST CARROLLTON, OH

How do you determine who is the best player available when comparing players from different positions? For example: Laquon Treadwell vs. Jalen Ramsey?

Bryan:There are two ways that they will set their board. They will have a board that has the players graded by position by round which is the board in which they will do the majority of their work off of. Their second board will be what's called a "Stack" – this board will be ranked from their first player to say player 150. On that board Treadwell could be placed above Ramsey or visa-versa. That tells them what player they see as the best player available.

Rob: They collect as much information as possible about each individual prospect and then make their rankings for the draft board. We don't know how the Cowboys will ultimately rank those two particular players you mentioned, but generally speaking, if you're asking about potentially breaking a tie between two prospects who play different positions, I would imagine that teams must factor in position need and scheme fit.

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