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Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Draft questions include biggest need and trading down

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

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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

“Often teams trade into the bottom of the first round to draft a QB. Do you think teams will be interested in trading with the Cowboys for their first round pick? And should they?

(Submitted by Craig Sykes via Facebook)

Brandon: Craig, you bring up a great point. Out of all the drafts to trade back in the first round, this might be the one to do it. Let’s say there are 12-15 players with a true first-round grade in this draft. The odds of one getting to 26 are slim. Trading back into the back past No. 27, but no later than Kansas City at No. 32, would be a good idea, especially collecting draft capital while still securing a fifth-year option on a player.

The Cowboys could use a few extra picks if they want, and drafting someone like Steve Avila at No. 32 (really No. 31) instead of 26th is appealing. It would be preferred to stay in the first round, given the ability to have a fifth-year option on whoever Dallas selects. That is a luxury the Cowboys’ front office values, especially with contract negotiations in the future.

Mike: Running a few mock drafts, I’ve done this exact scenario myself. For the sake of the exercise it works out well, but in reality it’s hard to see Jerry trading away a first-round pick. He just loves those first-rounders and also the fifth-year option that goes with it. There are plenty of teams that would want to hop back in but those teams know the value of trying to get back in the first round and how that can effect the rest of their draft. But of course this is the NFL draft so never say never.

“In the upcoming draft what’s the greatest need? TE, OL, LB or RB?

(Submitted by Jossy Farries via Facebook)

Brandon: Offensive line and linebacker would be tied for most important. If the Cowboys wanted to take a Jack Campbell or Drew Sanders in the first round, I couldn’t fault them for that, considering the linebacker class is nothing flashy this year. The dropoff from the top three linebacker prospects to the rest of the draft is steeper than the offensive line group from top to bottom.

In our recent roundtable on the Blogging the Boys YouTube channel, offensive guard Atonio Mafi from UCLA was there in the fifth round. He’s a player that could come in and compete with Chuma Edoga and others for the left guard spot. If Dallas loses Leighton Vander Esch for significant time during the season, it’s tough to trust Damone Clark and Jabril Cox stepping up right now. Drafting someone like Sanders or Campbell would make things much easier and put more talent on this defense.

Mike: Out of those options on the list offensive line is the greatest need. With the line options and conversations that have been had about where the Cowboys are looking to situate guys, that first-round offensive guard is back on the table. Value will be the concern and whether a guy will be available in the second round for an inside offensive linemen, so that leaves tight end or linebacker the next two on the list they need to take early. Whispers are being had right now behind closed doors about the tight end position and how early they want to pull the trigger in the draft on the position. Just keep an eye on those guys they bring in on visits.

“Do you think the Cowboys are seriously considering the WR from TCU (Quentin Johnston)?

(Submitted by Selphactualized via Twitter)

Brandon: Anyone the Cowboys bring in as a 30-visit should be considered a potential selection. Still, Quentin Johnston scares me being the pick at No. 26. Dallas does need more from the wide receiver position, and someone with Johnston’s size would bring a different element to the offense. However, the lack of separation and fight for contested catches being 6’3” freaks me out.

Johnston is the opposite of what a player with his frame should be. He has the speed to be a home run threat opposing defenses need to worry about, but he struggles to secure the catch in 50/50 situations with defensive backs. The upside for a player like him is why he could be drafted in the first round, but Zay Flowers would be a safer bet even though he’s smaller for the usual standard of the Cowboys at the position.

Mike: Very much so and why not, the guy is super talented. With Mike McCarthy implementing the West Coast offense the Cowboys need as much wide receiver talent, and varying traits of pass catchers they can possibly muster. On the 30 visit tracker, just look at the wide receivers the Cowboys have brought in to inspect ready to fill the void. After they got surprised with the CeeDee Lamb pick that just fell into their lap, the last thing they want is another pick in the dark, so they are doing as much homework as they can on all possible outcomes. So having Quentin Johnston come in makes perfect sense, even if for now it seems an unlikely pick.

“I know Dan Quinn likes his speedy DE’s but if they were to look at lengthy, long armed rushers would it be Zach Harrison (Ohio State) or Tavius Robinson (Ole Miss)?

(Submitted by Dallasware94 via Twitter)

Mike: Zach Harrison fits that description more than Robinson. Harrison is electric and quick mover and his 36” arm length definitely ticks the threshold marker for Dallas. What Harrison also does well is snap anticipation and engulfs ball carriers that come near him. He’s not just fast to chase down guys from behind, but also has good strength and technique to out-leverage blockers and has some quick feet in short space. His issue is consistency and finding rhythm on the field. Something we know Dan Quinn can coach and put that speed to good use. Robinson for me just looks insanely raw as a pass rusher and needs a lot of work. Sure he’s got some speed but he lacks mostly in fluidity and getting round the edge at speed. Harrison over Robinson in a heartbeat.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag we asked who you would want to see play left guard this year for Dallas. Here are the results and our take on the poll.

Brandon: I find this poll fascinating because fans believe Tyler Smith has almost an equal chance to play left guard as a draft pick, which I agree with. It’s also fascinating to see people feel Matt Farniok has nearly the same opportunity to play left guard as Terence Steele does—both are pretty low on the probability spectrum. At the end of the day, the front office doesn’t want to telegraph what they will do in the first round, even though guard is a blinking red light for the team. Talking about moving Steele inside could be smoke so another team doesn’t jump them in the draft to take the best inside offensive linemen available.

Mike: Well this also points out the earlier question about most important positions to take in this year’s draft and it seems I’m with everyone else wanting to draft a guard this year. After last season and seeing Tyler Smith move back-and-forth from tackle to guard has to raise concerns on his development. This is a cover to help keep Smith out at tackle, where he excelled, and helps him to develop into the elite left tackle talent we all visualize him becoming.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter and also Facebook for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag. Check for the Poll of The Week on Twitter. Many thanks to everyone that sends in your questions and votes.

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