With Sean Lee out, I think our best option with three months before opening day at middle linebacker would be Bruce Carter. What is your opinion?
Rowan: I think what'll happen is they'll mix and match a lot of players before ultimately bringing in a middle linebacker via free agency. There's a lot of veterans out there, and I imagine many of them will still be there when the Cowboys head to training camp. On the bright side, a bunch of Cowboys outside linebackers had experience last year moving into the middle linebacker role when Lee went out then. If someone on the team takes the spot, my guess would be Justin Durant or DeVonte Holloman but I think eventually that spot will belong to a player not currently on the roster.
David: I bet if you asked the coaching staff today, they wouldn't have an honest answer yet. Can Justin Durant get healthy enough to play in the middle? Should Carter switch? Can Anthony Hitchens get up to speed fast enough to play Mike? These are all questions they don't have the answer to – after all, this is just Day 2 of OTAs. I've looked at the free agent pool of linebackers, though, and it's far from inspiring. My best guess right now is that Durant and Holloman fight it out for that spot.
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Ridiculed at the time of the draft, how smart does Jerry and company look now for taking Hitchens in the fourth round?
Rowan:It looks good, but I'll wait to withhold judgment. There's no doubt Hitchens was brought in to be prepared in case of emergency with Sean Lee, but the reason the pick was criticized was because many draft experts didn't feel Hitchens was talented enough defensive to go at that spot. We just don't know yet if that's the case. It's going to [embedded_ad] take Hitchens a long time to get completely ready at a spot as complicated as middle linebacker, particularly considering he's not used to playing that position from his college days, but grabbing an inside linebacker certainly looks like a good move now.
David: The logic of drafting a replacement looks smart, but it's not like they were expecting to lose Lee a month after making that pick. Even if Hitchens is everything they hoped he could be, he's probably not going to be a quality Mike linebacker in his first season. The plan for this guy was to have him learn from Lee and slowly transition to the new spot. If he's the starting Mike in September, it's going to speak volumes – either about how good he actually is, or how limited the rest of the team's options are.