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Mailbag: Top Need For 2016?; Expectations For The Ground Game?

HUNTER BULLOCKMECHANICSVILLE, VA
I know it's early for this, but what do you see being the top 3 needs for this team when free agency starts next year? Am I wrong to think S, RB and DT will be top needs in the draft when it rolls around?

Bryan: As much as they like to rotate these defensive linemen that's always a good bet. I am willing to go out there and say that Darren McFadden will be better than people are willing to give him credit for. Safety could be filled if they decide that Byron Jones is a better fit there. Let's see what happens with Dustin Vaughan in the preseason, but the most important spot in my opinion would be if Dez Bryant somehow doesn't get that contract extension and is franchised another year. I would like to believe that it would get done so we will see.

David:I think Bryan raises a great point that, if Dez doesn't have his long-term future worked out by next February, you could potentially see wide receiver sky rocket to the top of the Cowboys' list of needs. Aside from that, I think this team will still have a need at cornerback, as Morris Claiborne's contract will expire and Byron Jones might move to safety. Defensive end is also still a need, as it's unlikely that both Jeremy Mincey and Greg Hardy will be with the team in 2016. I agree with you that defensive tackle and running back will also be big priorities.

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TRES EVANSTEMPLE, TX
Jerry has said he thinks the running game overall is improved. Just based on talent, do you think Joseph Randle could be an annual 1,200-yard rusher? And what do you think the committee approach will generate in yards this year?

Bryan: This is me but I believe that Jerry Jones believes the running game is better as a whole and he even said that. He has added more pieces to the offensive line plus he has two of the best blocking tight ends in the league in Jason Witten and James Hanna. Replacing DeMarco Murray's production and football intelligence will be difficult, but it's easier to find backs that can have success behind a quality offensive line than it is to find a back that's having to always create.

David:If I had to guess right now, in May, I'd say I don't see a 1,200-yard rusher on this roster right now – even with the offensive line in place. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as it looks like this is shaping up to be a true committee. I think this team is still capable of cranking out the 2,300 rushing yards it produced last season. Instead of one 1,800-yard rusher, though, maybe we'll see a 1,000-yard rusher, a 600-yard rusher and a 400-yard rusher.

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