September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end Stephon Tuitt (7) and defensive lineman Louis Nix III (9) look over the Michigan State Spartans offense during the 2nd half at Spartan Stadium. Norte Dame won 20-3 Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys Mailbag: Drafting All Defensive Linemen and Winning the NFC East

Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher (72) blocks against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer (93) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 17-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

This week we have two mailbag questions to address:

If we didn’t have so many injuries last year we could have easily won the NFC East

- Jonathan

Yes. And then what? I mean the NFC East was terrible last year so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume the Cowboys could have won it if they had a few less injuries. Spencer, Ware, and Lee at 100% all year could have easily made a 2 game difference in the Cowboys record. But would it have mattered in the playoffs?

Take a step back and give an honest assessment to this squad. They have major issues at almost every turn. The Cowboys would have been embarrassed in the playoffs and we would find ourselves in deeper denial than we are right now.


On Monday Sport DFW reader, Kevin, asked this question:

Why would we want to invest in the secondary if our defensive line is so bad? I say we pick all defensive linemen in the first 4 rounds. Games are won in the trenches and we need to start there!

- Kevin G

Kevin is not alone in this thought. Many other sports writers are saying something along the same lines. After all, with 3 or 4 open spots, why wouldn’t the Cowboys want to carpet-bomb the defensive line position in this year’s draft?

The number one reason is the Cowboys have a multitude of other needs, so they don’t have to just pick from a certain position group. I’m not saying I only endorse the Best Player Available (BPA) strategy this year, but a happy medium should be found.

The Cowboys have needs at safety and guard also. If a higher rated player at either of those positions is available, the Cowboys would be wise to go that route. If a WR, TE, or RB pops up as the BPA, then I would be fine skipping over them and searching for a major need, like the DL (within reason of course).


Carpet-bombing a position group would also have effects on the future salary cap and long-term planning. I will work on explaining the financial consequences of this tomorrow when I have a little more time. But for now, let’s just agree that the Cowboys have many needs and don’t need to reach for a position if a better option is available.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson


Tags: Dallas Cowboys

  • Juanito Juanito

    all start with the chicago bears, if they sign henry melton or not, if they didnt sign him they will grab aaron donald in first round

    • AJ

      Why not both? Last time I checked you need 2 good DTs in the 4-3 defense.

      • Reid Hanson

        The Cowboys really do need 2 DTs this season. Currently nobody on their roster is starter-worthy. But in this case Melton and Donald both play a very specific DT spot known as the 3-technique. The Cowboys and Bears both run a similar defensive line system that utilizes a 1-technique and a 3-technique DT. The 1 Tech is a large body who takes on extra blockers but rarely penetrates the backfield much. The 3-tech is a faster smaller DT who bursts through a gap to make plays in the backfield. Since both of these players are 3techs it would best to pick one or the other.

    • Reid Hanson

      I’m writing an article on that very thing. Melton will determine if the Cowboys can get Donald. At this time I think Chicago will let Melton go and will draft Donald.

    • ctcowboy1968

      I agree that it all depends on the Bears. They have the same needs as the Cowboys. They need D help everywhere. Cross our fingers and hope that the Bears draft Ha Ha for their safety needs.

  • Assassin

    No NFL team, no matter what they say, drafts Best Player Available early in the draft. After all is said and done, it’s always Best Player Available At A Position of Need. Look back at each draft for the proof. My opinion is that a NFL GM will say BPA simply to avoid talking about a specific player that they may like.

    • Reid Hanson

      Exactly. That’s why I’m not going to pretend it’s a good strategy here. I believe in a weighted drafting system that incorporates BPA and Needs. The bigger the need the heavier the weight. The Cowboys have heavy needs for a few different positions.

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  • ctcowboy1968

    This is the goal the Cowboys need to focus on. Better DL makes everything better for the D. Panthers are a prime example. Last year they drafted a DT in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. Both became day 1 starters. Panthers went from the #10 ranked D to #2. They went from 7-9 to 12-4.