DALLAS — With a lot of Dallas Cowboys and NFL Draft news coming ahead of NFL free agency, the Mavericks eyeing contention in the NBA Western Conference, the Dallas Stars in the thick of things in the NHL and the Texas Rangers nearing Opening Day in their first season at Globe Life Field, Patrick opened his inbox to readers for the first Q&A of the year. He looked to answer the questions on your minds during one of the busiest months for all the local sports teams.
Who will the Cowboys sign? What will Dallas be looking for in the draft? How far will the Mavericks go? You had the questions, we have the answers.
1. Three outside agents you think the Cowboys will sign:
The Cowboys have shown a propensity to play the waiting game in free agency, so they likely aren’t going to go after the big fish. Obviously, their primary concerns will be quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and probably defensive end Robert Quinn.
With so many holes throughout this team, I will give you three names for consumption: Linebacker A.J. Klein (ties to new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan) and defensive backs Damarious Randall and Haha Clinton-Dix (Mike McCarthy ties).
2. Who is the most underrated free agent that the Cowboys could lose and miss this year:
Without a doubt, I believe it is Byron Jones. He has universally been the team’s best coverage defensive back and is coming off his two best seasons in his first two full years as cornerback. Losing Jones makes an already suspect DB group that much more questionable.
Jourdan Lewis might be the best of the remaining corners, but he needs to be the nickel guy who can defend against the slot. Chidobe Awuzie really struggled in 2019, and Anthony Brown is a free agent as well.
A draft pick selection of the likes of corners C.J. Henderson or Trevon Diggs, plus a compensatory pick next year, won’t even out losing a player the caliber of Pro Bowler Jones.
3. Will McGovern or Williams start as left guard:
I absolutely think that it will be Connor Williams’ job to lose, provided that he has fully recovered from the ACL tear that cost him the remainder of the 2019 season after Week 12.
The other Connor in this equation is McGovern, who is expected to compete for the spot as he has declared himself “fully healthy.”
If, for some reason, Williams can’t go immediately, it might be tough to get the gig back, as McGovern is expected to push the former Longhorn as a third-rounder out of Penn State in 2019.
A torn pectoral muscle in training camp landed McGovern on the injured reserve list before he saw game action, but he had a full year to soak up being a professional and prepare himself for 2020.
The dark horse in this battle could very well be Ronald Leary. Leary won’t return to Denver in 2020, and he loves the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Leary started at guard for Dallas from 2013 until he left via free agency in 2017. He has injury concerns, but Leary is a great option to come back to the Cowboys and get into the mix at left guard if a reunion is in the cards.
4. What's the story on Chinn?
The story on safety Jeremy Chinn is that he is a small school guy out of Southern Illinois. Chinn has good size standing at 6 foot 3 inches and good length with 32 ⅛ inch arms, which has been a physical profile that the Dallas Cowboys look for.
Chinn’s combine numbers weren’t bad with 4.45 40-speed, a 41 inch vert, and a 138 inch broad jump. His film is really good, but there are definitely concerns in terms of his play recognition and his reaction time.
However, he is a guy with good speed to close and won’t kill you with poor angles, which is a new development for Cowboys secondary players. Chinn is a guy that you want and could make for an intriguing later-round option for Dallas.
5. Javon Kinlaw or CeeDee Lamb?
Making the decision with the first-round pick really comes down to who is higher on the team’s board, as the draft philosophy should be based on taking the best athlete available. However, a caveat here could be that they should value the defensive tackle over the wide receiver due to the fact that this class is so deep and the Cowboys have big time needs on defense.
Given that, I would lean toward selecting South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw in this scenario, even though I prefer Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb, because of what his speed and playmaking ability would mean for the offense.
If the intent is to bring back Cooper and Prescott at the cost of some of their defensive free agents, then the Cowboys could grab Lamb and drop some 40 burgers on opposing defenses.
6. How far do you see the Mavs going this year?
We’ve got a Mavs question to close things out. Irv, I think where the Mavericks end up will all depend on the level of play that they get from Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis when the playoffs roll around.
If Luka and KP have the same level of impact that they had against the Pelicans in a thrilling 127-123 OT victory on Wednesday, then this team should do well in the postseason. Neither Doncic nor Porzingis have playoff experience in the NBA, however.
With that in mind, look for the Mavs to get out of the first round for the first time since their magical 2011 run and make a push to at least the Western Conference Semifinals, where Doncic and Porzingis will have something to build on in subsequent seasons.
Have a question on the Cowboys, NFL Draft, Mavs or Rangers that you want answered? Send ‘em in to Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.