While most of the discussion about potential starters on the defensive line has focused on the three technique, who do you see as potential starters at the other DT position -- veteran or drafted rookie?
David: In this scheme, the three technique is the one that generates pressure and gets sacks, as Jason Hatcher demonstrated last fall. I think that's why you hear so much about it – it's the more glamorous position. But anyway: I don't think anyone would be willing to say Nick Hayden played at a Pro Bowl level last year, but I imagine he'll be considered to retain his spot as the starting one-technique tackle. The return of Ben Bass from injury is also worth watching. If the Cowboys draft a defensive tackle, I think it's more likely to be at that three technique spot.
Rowan: Nick Hayden or Tyrone Crawford would be my first guess. Crawford could realistically play any of the spots on the defensive line. I see Bass potentially as more of a three technique, but if he bulks up he could compete at that spot as well. The Cowboys have said they're not as interested early in the draft at a one-technique as they are at a three-technique, so a drafted player at that spot would probably come in the later rounds and may not start immediately.
EL PASO, TX
With all our personnel problems, is the Cowboys' glass half empty, or half full? Are we closer to going 0-16 or 16-0?
David:Well, the half-full, half-empty analogy is pretty fitting, considering the Cowboys have finished exactly .500 for three straight years. To be honest, I don't see it fluctuating too much in either direction. The Cowboys' offense might improve some under Scott Linehan, but it's returning essentially all the same pieces. It's [embedded_ad] impossible to tell what will become of the defense, but it's hard to imagine it improving too drastically. If I had predict whether this team would win over/under eight games today, in March, I'd probably take the under.
Rowan: It's exactly half, and so it's half empty. There's nothing worse in professional sports, particularly one that's as dependent on the draft as the NFL, than being stuck in mediocrity. They're not quite good enough to reach the playoffs but they're not poor enough to have a top 10 selection and seriously rebuild. For that reason, it's half empty. That doesn't mean they're about to go 0-16 and players like Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith give hope for the future, but with stars getting older, their window for winning with their current personnel is closing in.