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Mailbag: Shaq Thompson's Versatility?; Relying Too Much On Draft Picks?

MATT YOSTTURNERSVILLE, NJ
Shaq Thompson reminds me a lot of the great Darren Woodson. With our defense spending so much time in nickel and dime sub packages, I think Shaq would be a great fit for our scheme. Any word on how the coaching staff feels about his position flex?

Bryan: I understand where you are going with your thoughts in the comparisons of the two players, but Shaq Thompson is not a safety – he is an outside linebacker and that is how these scouts have graded him. I do agree with you about Thompson's ability to play in nickel and sub packages, but there is no way that I would have put him in the slot and have him cover receivers like the former coaches did. I will say that I do like the run-hit factor that you get with Thompson which is similar to Woodson.

Rob: Watching Thompson, it's pretty clear he's a Marinelli type of player -- fast, competitive and extremely versatile -- probably the most versatile player in the draft. (He can be a core special teamer, chip in at running back and play a couple positions on defense.) Thompson's hybrid linebacker/safety skills would be an asset at linebacker here because linebackers in this defense must be able to cover. He has made it clear to teams throughout the draft process that he wants to play linebacker, even though he doesn't have prototypical size.

BRENDAN MCAULEYSCARSDALE, NY
Why is there so much 'hope' being put into draft picks? How can anyone say we will replace DeMarco Murray or Dwayne Harris in the draft? It seems preposterous to even ponder.

Bryan: Let me go around the corner and tell Will McClay and the scouts to go ahead and just shut their meetings down, then. Brendan, what is preposterous is that you believe that players can't be replaced -- which is the furthest thing from the truth. This staff has done an outstanding job of adding players through the draft. I wish you could sit in one of those meetings and see how hard these scouts work on trying to accomplish something that you don't want to even ponder. Just from my study, there are better players in this draft than DeMarco Murray and Dwayne Harris, so there are possibilities there.

Rob: The most consistently successful teams over the last 15 years know their salary limits on certain players, they don't go over that number, and they find replacements in the draft or free agency. Baltimore is arguably the best at it. The teams that overpay to retain their own out of comfort are the teams that get themselves in trouble. That's just the nature of the cap era. The Cowboys front office is confident they can acquire good talent at those two positions without taking a step back. That's a philosophy I would think fans would embrace.

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