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Looking at linebackers

Mickey Spags answered some email last Friday that I just got around to reading. Two answers about the OLB position were interesting.

With the draft closing in, what's the word from the guys who finished the season on injured reserve? How are Al Singleton, Kevin Burnett, Kalen Thornton and Flozell Adams recovering? With the linebacker position clearly in question, the health of those three surely will dictate the draft.

Mickey: Just saw Singleton the other day, and he seems to be doing fine. Did not have anything supporting his shoulder. My understanding is Singleton is doing fine, and will be ready for the start of training camp. Same for Thornton and Adams, and that Burnett, who didn't have his surgery until the first of the year, still should be ready for the start of camp, which would mean like a seven-month recovery.

So even though we could use another OLB to throw into the mix, the Cowboys do have options and aren't forced to draft one at #18. Parcells might want Al Singleton back as the starter to help with  the new ILB on that side, Akin Ayodele. Obviously, it will also depend on who falls on draft day.

Doesn't it seem obvious that Parcells is not too concerned about free safety, and therefore he will go after another hybrid 'tweener' to rush from the other side, which would make DeMarcus Ware more dangerous? Parcells wants another game-changer coming off the edge and he would be smart to go get one.

Mickey: Well, for the reasons above, plus knowing Singleton is turning 31 and no one really knows what Burnett or Thornton are capable of doing, that left outside linebacker position to me seems to be in need of attention. Now first and foremost, that guy must be a run-stopper. Sure, you'd like another pass rusher to complement what Ware can do, but if you remember, the Cowboys' ability to stop the run went downhill when Singleton was lost for those final eight games. The Cowboys need a beast of a linebacker there on the left side, and they would be smart to go get one.

I agree with Mick's assessment here. I don't think Parcells wants another hybrid LB/DE with the same skill set as DeMarcus Ware; he wants a run-stopper, someone who can take on blocks, shed the blocker and make the tackle. Ware struggled with that at times last year.

Manny Lawson and Kamerion Wimbley are great prospects, but they are more of speed guys in the mold of Ware, I'm not sure that's what Parcells wants on the stong-side.

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