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Mailbag: Was Parsons The Best Player Available?


While I agree we need better LB play, and maybe Jaylon Smith and/or LVE aren't long for staying in Dallas beyond this year, but if Keanu Neal is "starting out at LB" doesn't that give us four "starting" LB? I know the run defense was historically bad, but how do we line up? Also, Micah Parsons was higher rated than Slater? To me they weren't close enough to take him ... they didn't take the best available player. — A. KAPLAN / NEW YORK, NY

Nick: Maybe Neal isn't there anymore. When asked about it Thursday, Mike McCarthy just said they need "13,14,15" players on defense. So who knows what they're going to do with Neal. But I don't know if I agree with you about Slater. I like getting the best player at a position of need, and linebacker was certainly that. The long-term future of this position was so much in question so it makes sense to me.

David: This is why we always say that "Best Player Available" is usually a myth. The vast majority of the time, teams are going to lean toward the position they need more – and there's nothing wrong with that. I probably would've picked Slater, but I understand the logic of picking Parsons. And I feel a lot better about it knowing they have an extra pick to use on Friday. As far as how they might play all of these guys, figuring out how to use too many linebackers is a much better problem to have than not having enough.

My observation is that offensive lines were getting to the second level and blocking our LB's. That sounds like a D-Line problem more than LB problem. How will Micah Parsons have better production if the D-Line isn't fixed? — BOB HOLLAND / LEBANON, PA

Nick: Well, all I know is that there is one guy that seems to get everyone's criticism with his play last year and he doesn't play on the line. I'm sorry, I thought upgrading the linebacker spot and getting someone who can be more consistent was a big issue. Yes, having better D-Line play is a must but they had to get a catalytic playmaker on defense and I feel like they added one.

David: Let's also keep in mind that they've got 10 more picks and will have plenty of opportunities to improve the line. This entire defense needs work, including the defensive line. At the very least, it's nice to know they've answered some questions about the linebacker spot. It's not the pick I would've made, but it was a problem that needed to be addressed. Now, we can turn our attention to other positions – like the defensive line.

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