Ratliff-To-DE Has Been Discussed Before

IRVING, Texas --One of the most frequent fan questions we get on "Talkin' Cowboys" is whether the Cowboys would consider moving four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff to defensive end.

Many seem to think the move would help Ratliff, considered undersized at under 300 pounds, remain more durable throughout games, the season and maybe even his career as he approaches age 31.

It's something the Cowboys have in fact discussed, executive vice president/chief operating officer Stephen Jones said. The key, though, would be finding a true space-eater in the middle.

The other side to the argument is Ratliff's production over the years. He's been the defense's most consistent playmaker besides DeMarcus Ware, using his quickness to create mismatches in the middle. Why change that?

"He does his job against the run because he's elite with his quick twitch and his first step coming off the ball," Jones said. "And of course he's very good in the pass rush. . . . I think he enjoys being quicker than those interior guys. It's an advantage."

The Cowboys do have two younger, bigger nose tackles in Josh Brent and Clifton Geathers. Sean Lissemore did a nice job filling in for Brent while he had a knee injury last season, but he's a smaller, quicker nose tackle too.

If and when the Cowboys find a more traditional nose, Ratliff to end probably will be discussed again. LSU's Michael Brockers might have been an option if the Cowboys had stayed put at No. 14 and taken him in the first round.

"It's certainly been talked about, thought about," Jones said, "but so far the way the chips have fallen, we'll probably be pretty much the way we've been."

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