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Mailbag: Taking a D-lineman in the first round?


It looks like everyone is expecting the Cowboys to select an offensive lineman with their current first-round pick at 24. It's obvious that they need help there, but since the draft seems to be pretty deep with offensive linemen, do you think the Cowboys might consider selecting a defensive tackle or edge rusher if someone very high on their board is still there? – Mark Somma/Winchester, VA

Nick Eatman: I wouldn't be surprised by a lot, considering the Cowboys have so many needs right now. And you can say, pass-rusher isn't a strong need but if there's a chance to land a difference maker like that, I don't see the Cowboys passing on that. Problem is, elite pass-rushers aren't always sitting around at No. 24. Yes, you're right about the O-line needs and I would imagine that's going to be the play here in the first round. But don't be shocked with the curve ball and if a defensive player falls into their lap, I do think the Cowboys will strike. They said it Tuesday in the press conference how important it is to stop the run and help the defense. So maybe that was a smoke screen but it could be something to watch. Either way, just get a good player in here ready to play and he should help them.

Mickey: Sure, why not. the last thing you want to do, especially in the first round, is to get locked into drafting at one position. The Cowboys have various needs, and even though they drafted Mazi Smith last year with their first-round pick, there still is a need at defensive tackle after losing both starter Johnathon Hankins and rotation tackle Neville Gallimore in free agency. And if you had been reading my recent columns, sure like Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson, who should be available late in the first round. Robinson, 6-5, 285 played his first few seasons with the Tigers at defensive tackle and this past year as a defensive end. Versatility is special in the draft and could kill two birds with one stone since they also need help at defensive end after losing both Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency.

Nick Harris: One caveat to that line of thinking is that the offensive line class isn't super deep, it's more so top-heavy. If you don't get a tackle early, you may be scraping the bottom of the barrel on day three for a guy. There is a need for two starters up front, whether that be in the draft or through the development of the current depth of the roster, and sacrificing losing a potential starter up front for a defensive lineman that would be a depth option immediately wouldn't be the preference. With that being said, if the offensive line board is completely gone and a talent like Byron Murphy II is staring in your face at No. 24, maybe you pull the trigger. But it would take a very specific scenario for it to make sense.

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