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Mailbag: What About Gathers At DE? Most Impactful Rookie Besides Elliott?

LEW MCCONNELLGERMANTOWN, MD

Why wouldn't Rico Gathers be considered a project at defensive end instead of tight end? Seems as though with his size and mental toughness and aggressiveness being so raved about, he may play best there. If they're going to take this risk, why not?

Nick: And this is a project pick so all of that might be considered. Right now, he's a big-bodied player that will start out at tight end. From there, defensive end could be considered. Last year, the Cowboys looked at Efe Obada at tight end for about three hours. The next day he was at defensive end. So who knows what happens with Gathers but I think his skill set, combined with his soft hands and jumping ability will allow him to start off at tight end.  

Bryan: Because the history of this conversion has worked better when taking a basketball player and making him a tight end than a defensive end. You might think of Julius Peppers, but he was a defensive end in college and played basketball on the side. I don't believe Gathers will struggle with the blocking aspect here; it's how he is getting off the line that will be the problem.

STERLING TICEAHKIEWALTERS

Other than Ezekiel Elliott, who will have more impact than any rookie in the NFL drafted this year, which one of our picks will have the most impact?

Nick: So Jaylon Smith is out. I think the obvious answer would be Charles Tapper, because he has a chance to play right now at defensive end. If he plays well early on, I'm sure the Cowboys will find a spot for him. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Maliek Collins gets himself into the eight-man rotation right away on the defensive line.

Bryan: I like Maleik Collins in the rotation to help but keep an eye on Anthony Brown at cornerback. This kid has a well-rounded game to him and I could see him getting plenty of opportunities to help in nickel and dime packages. He covers well, plus he is not afraid to stick his nose in the action when tackling.  

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