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Mailbag: Whose Improvement Helps The Defense Most?



Who would have the greatest impact on the defense by having a Pro Bowl year: Henry Melton, Morris Claiborne or J.J. Wilcox?

Rowan: Just because of how erratic the defensive line play was last year, I'll go with Henry Melton. If Melton plays to his potential, the rest of the defense on the back end will be better off. If Claiborne plays well but the other corners don't, the defense still struggles, and if Wilcox plays well but the rest of the secondary doesn't, the defense still struggles. This needs to be Claiborne's year to stand out, but the biggest difference maker of that group is Melton.

David: I agree with Rowan. Like we've been saying all offseason, a good pass rush can help mask a lot of problems. That said, I think it could do wonders for the secondary and the entire defense if Claiborne manages to break out this season. We've seen that Brandon Carr can shut down a good receiver when he is playing up to his abilities. If Claiborne steps up and becomes a reliable option to close down half of the field, it would do wonders.


I haven't heard much about Ben Gardner since the draft. How has he been doing at OTA's? Does he have a solid chance making the team?


Rowan: He's been dealing with a bit of a sore quad, but I expect him to be ready by minicamp and definitely by training camp. He definitely has a good chance at making the team, but only time will tell when the pads come on whether or not that opportunity will be fully grasped. If I had to guess now, I'd say he makes it. The Cowboys need defensive linemen with upside, and he certainly has that.

David: Of all the seventh-round picks the Cowboys grabbed this year, I like Gardner's chance to contribute the best. He looks ready, physically, for pro-level football, and the Cowboys' problems along the defensive line certainly should help him find an opportunity. Only time will tell, though. He's missed the most recent OTAs, so we haven't been able to see all that much of him.

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