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Mailbag: Two Unknowns Who Will Stand Out In 2014?

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TRAVIS GAINEY
LEXINGTON, NC
The Cowboys signed a plethora of players this offseason, none of them were really big name players. Can you give us two you think will have regular playing time by the end of the season?

Nick: I don't think the Cowboys signed an abnormal amount of guys, relative to other years. You have to remember, most of the street free agents they added in January were released in favor of these rookie free agents. Still, I assume your question is in reference to players that might surprise with playing time. I see L'Damien Washington making the team and becoming a deep-ball threat. And although this team has like 24 defensive linemen, something tells me the undrafted free agent from Arizona State, Davon Coleman, has a spot somewhere. He's a high-motor guy who gets to the ball.

David: With Nick handling the rookie free agents, I figured I'd add a couple of veterans who joined the team this spring. Now, if you follow the team closely enough to be reading this mailbag, I assume you're well familiar with Jeremy Mincey and Amobi Okoye – one of them was a first-round pick, after all. But both players entered this organization without a lot of fanfare, and I imagine they both could have a significant impact on the defensive line this season – Mincey especially, as he has a good shot to start.

KENNETH PARKS
COLUMBIA, SC
Given DeVonte Holloman's experience playing safety, why not try him at weak side and move Bruce Carter to strong since he struggled in pass protection so much?

Nick:I think the Cowboys will probably look at every option possible when it comes to linebacker. Nothing seems safe right now, and that even [embedded_ad] includes Sean Lee's spot in the middle, although it's unlikely the Cowboys make a move there. But because of injuries to Lee, inconsistencies with Carter and Durant and the unknown with Wilber, Holloman and now rookie Anthony Hitchens, I think everything will be on the table. Holloman proved to me he is deserving of a larger role. Maybe that's the full-time nickel linebacker for now. Maybe it's a starting spot. But I think you're right in that he can play the weak side. Like the offensive line position, it'll come down to the best three guys on the field as the starters.  

David: Whether it's the rookie Will Smith, the veteran Durant or the promising youngster Holloman, I think it's clear the Cowboys plan to give Carter some competition this spring. It's hard to feel great about the position, because the one linebacker on the team who has proven he can consistently play at a high level, Lee, has injury issues. At the same time, it's got to be encouraging for the coaching staff to have so many bodies capable of competing for playing time.

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