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Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Is linebacker or defensive end a position of need?

People have questions about the Cowboys, and we strive to provide the answers.

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

“With Wagner gone what other LB or DE should the Cowboys bring in?”

(Submitted by Fifgear)

Brandon: Adding another veteran linebacker would be more beneficial than a defensive end. The Cowboys have enough players, with Dante Fowler returning to that position. Bringing in a player familiar with the system would help, and who is familiar with Dan Quinn would be great. Even though he didn’t live up to fan expectations, Anthony Barr is a name to consider in what would be his second season with the team. Another linebacker to sign would be Deion Jones, who played with Quinn in Atlanta. He shouldn’t be relatively expensive, given his age or injury history.

Mike: With what’s on the free agent market, and if money was no objective, then Yannick Ngakoue would be fun to have around. He’s only 28 and has posted double digit sacks the last two years, so that would be some nice production to have in the building on rotation. Or for a more cheaper option that isn’t going to break the bank and be a nice little addition would be Kyle Van Noy. Sure he’s long in the tooth now but he proved last year he can still be a productive linebacker. For the price the LA Chargers paid last year for him and get five sacks, over 30 pressures and over 30 tackles why not add that for a low cost one-year deal.

“I noticed the Cowboys scouted quick and fast running backs at the Combine with pass catching ability. Is that for Pollards replacement next year? I like Devon Achane.”

(Submitted by Dfw_sport)

Brandon: As the front office continues to preach, they like to prepare a few steps ahead. The team would be naive to believe Pollard would be on the team next season if they could not work out a long-term deal. They need to draft someone in case he leaves in 2024 with a similar skill set. Running back Tyjae Spears out of Tulane would be an excellent replacement for Pollard or Achane, as you mentioned. Both are explosive backs that could become real game-changers in McCarthy’s offense.

Mike: With the offense moving to the west-coast system under Mike McCarthy the need for running backs to be versatile as both a runner and receiver is important. Jahmyr Gibbs is maybe the best receiving back in this years draft which gives them an option in the first round. Devon Achane from Texas A&M is an electric running back but his knock isn’t so much he’s a bad receiver but more he’s limited as a receiver. You won’t see him moving out to the slot or running an expanded route tree so as a dual-threat back he only just fits the mould. But going against Achane the most is his blocking, which is something he doesn’t do well but also something you don’t want him to do due to his size. Achane is more the best change-of-pace running back you will get this year in the draft, and if the Cowboys draft him in the second I will be certainly happy, and that’s not just because I’m an Aggie fan.

“Should the Cowboys trade up and draft Bijan Robinson?”

(Submitted by Greg Johnson)

Mike: No no no! The Cowboys have set things up quite well to not have to trade up in the first at all. They can just let the board fall to them and there will be plenty of choice. If Robinson should fall into their lap then that will more than likely be the pick, but there are plenty of options in the later rounds at running back they can go and get. Robinson is a crazy talent and if he gets passed Tampa Bay it’s likely he will get down to Dallas, so buckle up and get ready if that plays out.

Brandon: I echo Mike’s opening statement. There’s no reason to trade up for Robinson because he might be at No. 26 when the Cowboys are picking. Comparing Bijan to prospects like Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley coming out of college, he would probably be third on the list. That’s nothing against him as a player, but he is not someone worth taking in the top ten because of positional value. If Dallas didn’t have as many holes to fill and Robinson was sitting at pick 23, then maybe it’s considered. However, if he’s off the board at 26 and the Cowboys still want to draft a high-caliber running back, take Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama.

“Do the Cowboys need another edge defender? We need a run stopper for sure to help keep the LB’s clean.”

(Submitted by Taibu Thomas)

Brandon: At edge, probably not. At defensive tackle, let’s wait and see. Stephen Jones talked about wanting to re-sign Carlos Watkins and Johnathan Hankins. If they do that before the draft, they might not need to take any defensive tackle unless they are truly the best player available. The Cowboys took a chance with John Ridgeway last season and made the mistake of letting him go. It wouldn’t be a big deal if he were still on the roster. If Watkins and Hankins return, I’d look for the Cowboys to sign an undrafted free agent at that position. A big boy is still needed on the roster, but I have confidence the veteran deals will get done.

Mike: Most definitely the team need to add a defensive end. Beyond this year the defensive end position is going to be light when you look that Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong have their contracts expire. Add also to the fact that DeMarcus Lawrence will be 32 when the season starts in 2024 so adding depth at an extremely critical position through next season is important right now. The Cowboys will no doubt draft an edge defender this year, so having a rookie learn off the teams veterans and also having a guy they get in free agency to help bridge the gap beyond this season is a smart move.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag we asked who the best FA acquisition was so far for Dallas. Here are the results:

Brandon: The Cowboys have a hole to fill at left guard and are debating whether or not Terence Steele will be playing there. I’m not in favor of that happening. Gilmore and Cooks are certainly one and two on this list, but the one who might end up becoming the most valuable is Edoga. Suppose Dallas doesn’t select an interior offensive lineman in the draft. In that case, Edoga is a veteran player that showed signs of being a decent player for the Atlanta Falcons before his injury in 2022. He’s certainly not a player to put all of their eggs in a basket for, but who knows? The front office had found diamonds in the rough before, as they did with Jonathan Cooper years ago.

Mike: This says a lot about the depth at the position and uncertainty people have with the other cornerback players for the Cowboys. But what it may speak more on is how much confidence fans have in Dan Quinn and how he will find a way to squeeze every drop of football out of Gilmore this season. Adding more power to the defensive back room in the draft tied in with having both Diggs and Gilmore to learn off, that’s a good way to make everyone happy post-draft. I’m more surprised that Ronald Jones got such a low vote. Depth at running back is always a big roster requirement.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag

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