Mailbag: How Could Jaylon’s Status Affect Draft Priorities? Addressing Pass Rush? | Dallas Cowboys

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BRET SKELLENGER
FONTANELLE, LA

I am a firm believer that Jaylon Smith is going to be healthy come next season. I believe people are underestimating what a healthy Jaylon Smith will bring to the table as far as pressure on opposing QB’s. I think this will be a factor in deciding what position to draft first, an edge rusher or a CB. Thoughts?

Bryan: You will hear me say this bunch. At 28 you have to sit there and see what the board brings you unless you want to move up. I don’t see them doing that because of how much they value picks. There is no way that they can right now say which direction they’re going until the board is set and the draft starts that Thursday night. 

Rob: Well, the Cowboys’ first on-field work will be after the draft when OTA’s get started. That would be the first time you’d get to see Smith in a practice environment, even though there’s no live contact. It’s a good question because the Cowboys do have to project Smith’s status to some degree in order to determine what type of priority they should place on linebacker in the draft. Listening to Stephen Jones on Monday, the team feels Smith can play with the brace and play well.

JIM WHATLEY
HENDERSON, TX

That difference maker pass rusher doesn’t appear to be on the team. Picking so low in the draft, it doesn’t appear that that difference-making pass rusher will be available there either. It would seem that if the Cowboys are going to find that guy, it will be in free agency. If one is available, do you see the Cowboys spending the money to sign him, or will they go through another season with what they have and hope someone surprises them?

Bryan: There are plenty of quality pass rushers in this draft so to say that there doesn’t appear to be any difference makers is extremely off base. I see them drafting a player or two that can play end and not spend money on free agency.

Rob: The Cowboys aren’t likely to spend big in free agency at any position. Stephen Jones reiterated that approach on Tuesday and no one should be surprised. This is the way the team has done business for years. But your question is a good one, because as Stephen said Tuesday, “we’ve got our work cut out for us” in finding pass rush help because teams usually don’t let good rushers get away. Even though he emphasized the team won’t reach for an edge rusher at No. 28, I think there’s a chance a good prospect will be available at some point early. Read

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