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Mailbag: Which Young D-Linemen Can Step Up? Darius Jackson's Chances?

PATRICK KINGROCKVILLE, MD
With the suspension of Randy Gregory and possible suspension of DeMarcus Lawrence, which defensive lineman do you think has the potential to step up in their absence and exceed expectations?

Bryan:If I had to bet on one player, Benson Mayowa is the guy I feel like has the most promise. It would be nice if Ryan Russell and Charles Tapper could be those types of players but until I see them executing on a consistent basis as pass rushers – I will hold my judgements. There is some outstanding tape of Mayowa doing it in NFL games, so he gets my nod.

David: Maybe it's just the optimism caused by the draft, but I'm interested to see what Charles Tapper can bring to the defense. His athleticism is unreal, and he's got the size to fit into this scheme right away. On top of that, the opportunity created by the suspensions can only help his bid for playing time.

RENE PERALESAN ANTONIO, TX
I really like the Darius Jackson pick. He's a quick, elusive athlete for a guy his size, and he just looks like a natural runner. However, with the depth we have at the position now, how does he make the team? Do we keep four backs or release/trade a veteran away? I think this kid has too much potential to risk waiving him.

Bryan:I like what I saw from Darius Jackson but he is going to have a difficult time making this team unless McFadden or Morris fails badly. Jackson should receive the majority of the work in the preseason – so he will get a fair shot. It will be up to him if he can make the front office and coaches feel differently about him.

David: Any conversation we have about the running back position should begin with the fact that we don't know when Lance Dunbar will be available. I think that's probably Jackson's best bet. If Dunbar starts the season on the PUP list, it gives Jackson a better chance to make it as the No. 3 or No. 4 running back. I honestly won't be surprised if the Cowboys decide to carry four runners and a fullback, so that should also help Jackson's odds.

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