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Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Mazi Smith, Cowboys offense and free agent questions

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

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 Big 10 Championship - Michigan vs Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via 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.

“How do we view the Mazi Smith pick?”

(Burntout78 via Twitter)

Mike - When the pick first came in there was some apprehension, not disappointment, more of a “wait and see” attitude to it all. But as you watch more on Mazi Smith and think how much the Cowboys defense struggled last year in stopping the run, the more this pick becomes exciting. A lot of people will look at sacks and pressures when it comes to first-round defensive linemen, but the role the Cowboys will have Smith play will have some people complaining about the pick by the end of the season. The defensive tackle position is always selfless in one aspect as they don’t get the flashy stats and spotlight features, Smith will be no different. I absolutely love this pick and what he will do in forcing opposing teams to abandon the run, which will only play into the hands of players like Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore. So in effect Smith becomes a weapon that individual stats will not define.

Brandon - Since the Cowboys haven’t drafted a first-round defensive tackle in over a decade, I didn’t know what to make of the Mazi Smith pick. You can watch the BTB draft night live stream to see that. However, I changed my mind about him after reading what people said about him and getting to know the player.

The Dallas defense was almost perfect last season if it wasn’t for their run defense. They went out and solved that problem by acquiring Johnathan Hankins. The impact was felt immediately. Hankins is also an older player, so why not draft his heir for the position of who’s stronger and faster? The Cowboys made the right choice, and Smith will help the defense immediately.

“How good is our offense going to be?”

(John Dellarco via Facebook)

Mike - That’s an interesting question when you think there are so many unknowns this year. At the top of list is the tight end position, which is maybe the most questionable group on the Cowboys roster. If Ferguson can continue developing his receiving skills, Schoonmaker can contribute early as a blocker, and Hendershot keeps surprising then the tight ends would have done their job. We know who Tony Pollard is but what’s going on behind him and how good is the talent beyond Pollard? That we will have to wait and see.

Then, of course, who will be the starting five on the offensive line? All this amounts to many questions. But with a guy like Dak that refuses to submit and will put it all on the line, and one of the best receiver groups in the NFL, this offense has the potential to be top-5 this year. But the way this team is built, this offense doesn’t need to be top-5 as the defense looks to steal the show.

Brandon - It remains to be seen, but there should be confidence in Mike McCarthy as a play-caller because he has done it before. Think back to when Kellen Moore was hired as the offensive coordinator—fans were split on the hire because there was no proof to go off of other than positive comments from players. Moore was a great coordinator for Dallas, but I believe he struggled in the playoffs because there was no track history there to go off of.

McCarthy has seen almost everything throughout his time in the NFL. He has shown to be a quality coach/coordinator when it matters most in the postseason, of course being helped by Aaron Rodgers. The offense might not be as explosive as it was, scoring 40-plus points three times in a season. This offense will be much better if they are more effective, especially in the playoffs.

“Who do we think will make the biggest impact from the free agent signings?”

(Joe Francis via Facebook)

Mike - For me, this has to be Stephon Gilmore. Having him on the roster puts all the defensive backs below him in a position where the team can utilize them in specialist and specific roles, rather than forcing them on the field. The threat of having Gilmore and Diggs on the field at the same time makes a complete headache for opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks to figure out. At some point they are going to have to throw to them. That forces offenses to make tough decisions that will only lead to more sacks, turnovers and most importantly the end of drives.

Brandon - The cop-out answer is long-snapper Trent Sieg given the Cowboys didn’t have a player at the position after Jake McQuaide went to Detroit in free agency. However, it could be Chuma Edoga if he wins the job at left guard when Tyron Smith inevitably misses some games. Tyler Smith will shift to left tackle. Edoga showed flashes of being tough against defenders in the run game.

If he could work on his pass blocking a little more, he has the size and talent to be what the Cowboys are missing at left guard.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag, we asked you which of the first-round picks are you most excited to watch in training camp. Here are the results and our take on the poll.

Mike - If I was to answer this I’m taking the weak answer and saying all four. For the sake of the exercise though, and picking one with my heart, I would take Mazi Smith based on being the one we have yet to see in a Cowboys uniform. I also want to see how his power and strength translates in the league.

But if I’m picking with my head and knowing which position group has the most questions, then I’m picking Tyler Smith. Not that I’m concerned about his skill set or how he will contribute, I would be watching to see where he’s playing and which players are surrounding him at each position. As for Parsons and Lamb, we know these guys are blue-chip players and playing in very strong positions on the Cowboys roster.

Brandon - CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons will always put on a show. Quite frankly, if they had limited reps throughout training camp, I’d feel better so that they have their rest for the season. Not to mention, there’s not much else we would need to see from them that we haven’t seen already.

The answer to me is Tyler Smith. Not only to see how he’s developed into year two but where he will be lining up at the start of camp. I’m sure he’ll be getting reps at left tackle and left guard, but wherever he starts camp could indicate how the team feels about Tyron Smith or the progress of other developing guards.

I can’t wait for summer camp.

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

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