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Mailbag: Progress From The New D-Linemen?


With many new draft picks this year added to the defensive line, how are they panning out? Is Quinton Bohanna doing anything noteworthy?JOHN M / MD

Rob: Bohanna had a would-be sack on Ben DiNucci in team drills Tuesday. The Cowboys drafted him primarily as a run defender, but his quickness off the snap is impressive for a 330-pound lineman. Osa Odighizuwa has made plays as an interior pass rusher with the second unit. Chauncey Golston (Active/PUP list) has yet to practice, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn didn't sound too concerned about him getting up to speed once he returns.

David: I don't want to hype the guy up too much before he's played in a game, but Quinton Bohanna looks very impressive. He's gigantic, but he looks a lot more athletic than your average nose tackle. He's hard to move, but he also looks surprisingly good as a pass rusher. He's one of the young guys I've noticed the most so far. Osa Odighizuwa is also off to a nice start, particularly when it comes to getting into the backfield.

I've heard the arguments how sacks don't define how good a defensive lineman is. Does this pertain to cornerbacks and interceptions?GARET TANAKA / WAILUKU, HI

Rob: A great example is Byron Jones when he was a Cowboy, right? Jones had two interceptions in five seasons, but he developed into a solid cornerback who didn't give up many big plays on his side of the field. I do think the Cowboys are hoping the young corners they've drafted can do a better job of taking the ball away, though. Trevon Diggs led the team in interceptions last year and felt like he could've had more. Second-round draft pick Kelvin Joseph forced turnovers in college. That's an area the defense actually excelled at down the stretch last season, despite a tough year overall, and they want to build on it.

David: Absolutely. We saw it play out here in Dallas recently with Byron Jones. He only has four interceptions in six NFL seasons, including just two while he was a Cowboy. And yet, there's something to be said for top-notch coverage that allows the coaching staff to get more creative and gives your other defensive backs less to worry about. Don't get me wrong, interceptions are important and the Cowboys haven't had enough of them. But quality coverage ability is hard to find these days. I think the Cowboys missed Byron last season, even if he wasn't reliable at generating takeaways.

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