Fri, 05 Mar 2021

Mailbag: An Interesting Draft Hypothetical

Dallas Cowboys
15 Jan 2021, 19:24 GMT+10

With the potential of losing multiple defensive backs in free agency, do you see the Cowboys initially drafting a cornerback or safety with the first-round pick, or a strategy similar to last year when a talent like CeeDee Lamb falls at your draft position and you can't pass him up? - KENNETH JACOBS / DENVER, CO

David: For starters, I'll just say that last year's strategy should always be the approach. If one guy is clearly better than all your other options, you take him - no matter what position he plays. Having said that, you're absolutely right that defensive back is this team's biggest need right now. They're going to need to address it in free agency. I would love to re-sign Chido Awuzie, provided the price isn't too high. And as for the draft, I'd love to come out of the first three rounds with either a starting-caliber corner or safety. But it's got to make sense. Don't force it just because you need it.

Rob: I'm all for drafting the best player on your board. That's how you avoid making big mistakes. However, this year, without any clue who will be there at No. 10 and who the Cowboys might really like, I think defense (not specifically the secondary) has to be the top priority early in the draft and their main focus throughout. Assuming they get healthy at the key positions on offense, there are just far more questions about the defensive side of the ball. Maybe what happens in free agency will change my thinking, but that's my two cents right now.

Will new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn be expected to bring a scheme that matches the core players on the roster expected to return, or will he be allowed to install his scheme and draft players to fit the scheme? As I recall, when Bill Parcells installed the 3-4, we had very defensive-heavy draft that yielded some great players, so we've seen it before. - JOEY ARNEL SAYSON / SANTA MONICA, CA

David: I think a big reason why Dan Quinn was hired is that he should be able to do both of those things. This is a very similar scheme to the one that Kris Richard brought with him from Seattle -- which makes sense, given that both of them coached under Pete Carroll. The core members of this defense have already run a similar system, which hopefully means they can re-adjust quickly. At the same time, the scouting department should already have a very good idea of the types of players that fit this scheme, which will hopefully make the draft process that much smoother.

Rob: Agreed, Quinn's past style of defense has similarities to what the Cowboys ran in recent years, so the veterans on the team will probably have a comfort level on Day One. But it's worth noting that Quinn has coached in systems beyond the traditional 4-3. His exact philosophy here remains to be seen. You're right, though: it'll be important to draft players who fit perfectly into what he wants to do.

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