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May 14, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Todd Archer

Tyrone (Stephenville TX) [via mobile]

Dashaun Phillips is a guy I went to college with. Based on what I've read and seen, he should be a good player. Maybe I'm biased in saying that because I know him. Have you heard anything about him? His pro day was pretty impressive.

Todd Archer
  (11:58 AM)

Always good to start a chat with talk about an undrafted free agent. Phillips has a chance. He'll have to beat out B.W. Webb, a fourth-rounder last year. In the video I saw, he can go up and get the ball. He can close quickly. We'll see if he can make the jump in talent levels but he's got a chance.

Carl Raleigh NC [via mobile]

How's it going Todd, If everyone (knock on wood) stays healthy throughout training camp until week 1 what do you think our front 7 will be?

Todd Archer
  (12:00 PM)

OK, I'll play this game: DL (left to right) George Selvie, Terrell McClain, Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey. LB - Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, Kyle Wilber. What about Anthony Spencer? I'm not sure he'll be healthy enough to be ready. Why no Demarcus Lawrence? I think he'll be a designated pass rusher this year.

Greg (CA)

We already talked Cowboys yesterday with Taylor. We don't need you. You can go home.

Todd Archer
  (12:00 PM)

Thanks for stopping by. Always good to hear from you.

Lane (Hoboken)

Let's say Steelers selected differently. Can you imagine if Dallas had drafted Shazier at 16? Would it have been a reach? Would it have been Dallas being Dallas? Would they have been called out for a reach?

Todd Archer
  (12:02 PM)

Taking Shazier might have been called a reach, but so what? If the Cowboys had the conviction to take him, then take him. Who cares what we think? And they don't care what we think. I wouldn't have liked the Shazier pick as much as the Martin pick, but that wouldn't have meant they made the wrong move. Teams liked Shazier's athleticism a lot. He can fly and would've been a perfect fit as a Will LB.

Brian indianapolis [via mobile]

If B. Carr or M. Claibourn don't particularly start off well and M. Johnson's health is still an issue and J.J. Wilcox doesn't develope quickly enough could you see them dipping into free agency early to mid season to fill that void if there is a suitable candidate for the right price or do they wait it out with the guys that are already on the roster and make safety a 2015 Draft priority?

Todd Archer
  (12:03 PM)

I wouldn't hold out hope of finding guys off the street to be more than fill-in types. They've gotten the Cowboys by the last couple of years, but you want better than that. If those guys don't play better, they're in trouble and I don't think guys on the street would do anything to make the defense better.

Sam (California)

Hey Archer, I saw the story about Washington. I really want him to succeed, but I don't know much about is playing ability. What's your opinion on his football skills? Can he be an elite receiver? He does have speed and size. What about his route running and hands?

Todd Archer
  (12:05 PM)

Let's not get carried away on calling an undrafted free agent elite. Miles Austin developed into an elite receiver for a few years as an undrafted guy, but the Cowboys never predicted greatness for him. I like L'Damian Washington and probably some because of his story. He is fast. He's an OK route runner. But he's a body catcher. They need to work on that. You can't teach speed, however, and that's his plus. But I wouldn't pencil him into the 53-man roster just yet, let alone an elite receiver.

R Lank, MD [via mobile]

im aware that u have 2 pass the football, but with big leads at halftime what do u do when u have a bac averaging 4yards per carry? my question is do u think garrett and romo learned anything from the past or do u think we'll c the same old type of selfish playcalln. my oppinion is i think romo need 2 learn how 2 read dfenses

Todd Archer
  (12:07 PM)

Romo can read defenses just fine. You make a good point in the beginning. The Cowboys have to manage games better. Maybe Scott Linehan will do that. He has shown a willingness to run it in Minnesota and St. Louis when he had good running games. He didn't run it much in Detroit until he got Reggie Bush. Every coach talks about the importance of running the ball. We'll see if Linehan follows through.

Stephan (ny) [via mobile]

If Dallas was able to move back in the draft what kind of compensation were they looking for and who would they have targeted in the back end of the draft?

Todd Archer
  (12:09 PM)

They wanted Cleveland's first three picks to move down to No. 26. I think they would've picked Kony Ealy or Jimmie Ward at that spot in the first and maybe could've gotten Demarcus Lawrence in the second still. Trai Turner could have been one of their two third-round picks. That's all an educated guess on the picks at this point.

Jason (Boca Raton)

Isn't it STILL a good idea to keep building the O line even with the new addition. I mean, the right side isn't nearly as solid as the left seems to be.

Todd Archer
  (12:10 PM)

Martin will play right guard. Free is a serviceable right tackle. I think they're fine. Will Free be back in 2015? Perhaps. If not, then they can slide Martin to tackle in the future. If he is, then they're stout. You can't have Pro Bowlers at every spot. And I wouldn't rule out Bernadeau as a starter at left guard. Let's not put Leary in the Ring of Honor yet.

Jovan (mobile) [via mobile]

What do you think Devin street can bring to the offense?

Todd Archer
  (12:12 PM)

I like this pick. He's big. He can make contested catches. From the sounds of it, he's a quick learner. Receivers coach Derek Dooley had him alter his timing on some routes and he got it right away. He fills a need on this offense because he brings something they didn't have behind Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. If all goes well, then he catches 30 passes this season.

Jeannie (morristown) [via mobile]

The cowboys only thought clowney, Barr, and Lawrence could play right end. So was Khalil Mack not a option at all?

Todd Archer
  (12:12 PM)

They viewed him as a 3-4 outside linebacker, not a right defensive end. They thought he needed to work in space to be at his best. And since they weren't moving up or playing a 3-4, then, no, he wasn't an option.

Sal (ATL)

I was surprised that the Cowboys passed on Jeffcoat. Thoughts? Thanks.

Todd Archer
  (12:13 PM)

Every team passed on him, even Seattle. I think there is some injury concern there. I have a question: why is it the Cowboys are the only team to pass on players? Why can't people see that other people passed on Jeffcoat (or Telvin Smith)?

Daniel (Rutgers ) [via mobile]

I heard the cowboys were in talks with Seattle to move to 32nd? Is that true and would they have selected Lawrence ?

Todd Archer
  (12:14 PM)

Seattle called them. Not sure how serious it got. But if they took Lawrence at 34, it seems good to reason they would have been willing to take him at 32.

cory (longview, tx.) [via mobile]

How does jerruh justify not taking a safety at 16 with the two best sitting there, then giving up a 3rd rounder to take a DE when an all american in Jeffcoat was pushed completely out of the draft, and trading up for a WR when Mike Davis was also undrafted?

Todd Archer
  (12:15 PM)

I answered the second part of the question already, but clearly they didn't like the safeties more than Zack Martin. Do you draft for need or best player? Ultimately it's a combination. But Martin must have been significantly higher on their board than either Clinton-Dix or Pryor.

Kspecial ft. Worth [via mobile]

Do you expect any free agent signings now that the draft is over, if so what positions?

Todd Archer
  (12:16 PM)

There aren't a lot of players available that would be worth it, but if you want positions: blocking tight end, interior offensive line, safety (though they don't believe so) and maybe linebacker.

Brandon (Carrollton, TX)

What does the Cowboys salary cap situation look like going forward? Any way we will be able to improve by bringing in people OUTSIDE of the organization going forward? ie. FA signings?

Todd Archer
  (12:18 PM)

They have had the opportunity to sign any free agent they've wanted to sign and haven't done so. By June 2, they could have about $10 mil in space if they don't sign any draft picks before then. The guys that are brought in now are mode depth players than starters.

Jerry (Arkansas)

Mr. Archer, a little help with an upcoming business decision. After we finish 8-8 next season and Morris Claiborne has another "decent" year, should I pick up his 5th year option for 10 million. Or let him play out his 4th season as a impending free agent?

Todd Archer
  (12:19 PM)

So he just played "decently?" I wouldn't pick it up. Remember, if he balls out in 2015, then the Cowboys could put the franchise tag on him and keep him. That's my thought right now. He has to play better than decent to get the fifth year option picked up.

Shawn Lyons (Katy)

Do feel Weeden is a viable option at 2? Do you think we shouldve drafted Aaron Murray?

Todd Archer
  (12:20 PM)

They're holding out hope that Kyle Orton will be back. We'll know his intentions if he comes to the mandatory mini-camp in good shape. But they like Weeden more than most people would. I liked Murray, but I'm not sure I would've labeled him as a potential successor to Romo if they picked him.

Cullen Calabria (Paris, TX)

Feeling like trading a 2nd and 3rd pick was a mistake. Lawrence could have dropped and if not we could have gotten Ealy or Jernigan with our 2nd Rd and either Crichton or Sutton in the 3rd. In other words 2 starting caliber D-Lineman for the upcoming seasons. Your thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (12:22 PM)

It's a tough call. I'd almost always say give me more picks then fewer picks. But in 2011, they passed on a two-for-one trade with Jacksonville and took Tyron Smith. That worked out pretty well. There is a difference between the ninth pick and the 34th, but they were in a spot where if they didn't get Lawrence they likely wouldn't have gotten a right defensive end. My feeling is this: for this draft to work out, Lawrence has to be special. Maybe not Year 1 special, but special over four years.

Garrett (Williamsport )

How is the Holloman, Wilber, Durant jam going to work out? I thought Holloman could be back up MLB, but not with Hitchens now in the kitchen.

Todd Archer
  (12:23 PM)

Durant and Carter will battle for the Will spot. Wilber and Holloman will battle for the Sam spot.

Matt (Philly)

So why will this year not result in the Cowboys going 8-8?

Todd Archer
  (12:24 PM)

Because they'll finish 6-10? I don't know. I can't give you an answer. If they stay healthy, then they can finish better than 8-8. It's not just 'staying healthy,' because there will be injuries. They must avoid the wrong injuries to guys like Lee, Melton, Witten, Romo, Murray, Bryant.

raul (rio grande city)

Todd, do you see throwing his hat into the Mariota Derby next year if something happens to Tony? or do you think they stick with Orton or Weeden?

Todd Archer
  (12:25 PM)

Orton is a free agent after this year. Weeden won't stop them from going after a QB. If they struggle, I don't know why they wouldn't look at a quarterback because you'd likely be bringing in a new coaching staff too.

desmond (brooklyn )

do you think it will be disrespectful if the cowboys are listed as underdogs for the home opener against sf ? on paper these teams are dead even shouldn't the home field matter for anything?

Todd Archer
  (12:26 PM)

Really? They're even? The Niners defense is way better than the Cowboys defense. The Niners track record the last three years is much better than the Cowboys' track record. I don't think it would be disrespectful at all. But again, who cares what a point spread is?

John (Albuquerque)

Hey Todd keep up the great work! Always enjoy your side of the story.....enough pandering.....we still need a safety to play alongside Church....please tell me our plan isn't to develop the mediocre talent we have laying around Valley Ranch. What are our options?

Todd Archer
  (12:27 PM)

The pandering worked, but the options available outside the building aren't automatic upgrades. I've liked Steve Gregory. I think he would be a good fit. But they are committed to trying the young guys like Wilcox, Heath and Johnson. I'm not sure I agree with it.

Ben (York, Pa)

I feel like when Dallas drafted OLB Anthony Hitchens, they thought that they were drafting ILB James Morris. I mean, does Dallas really feel that Hitchens could be their starting Mike Linebacker if Sean Lee goes down?

Todd Archer
  (12:28 PM)

Yes, I would say the team would feel that way or they wouldn't have picked him. Right?

Nick (Veront)

It seems like Dwayne Harris always has the chance to do something special when he has the ball in heads, must most of his opportunities come on special teams, do you see Linehan creating a couple of plays to utilize Harris, much like hype about Dunbar. Both players have specialized talent, but probably aren't every down kind of player.

Todd Archer
  (12:28 PM)

Good call, Nick. I think Harris will have a package in the offense, like Beasley and like Dunbar. But he's not an every down guy, which is why they picked Street.

Brandon (Carrollton, TX)

My apologies. Wasn't completely clear with my question. What is the Cowboys salary cap situation for the next year or 2. We've been hearing for years that they are in salary cap hell. With them not signing DWare, Austin, etc., will there be salary cap relief in the near future? Within the next 2 years or so? Thanks Todd.

Todd Archer
  (12:29 PM)

Oh. OK. They'll be in good shape next year and potentially great shape in 2016 even if they sign Tyron Smith, Bryant and Murray.

Andy (D.C.)

If Orton doesn't return, what could you see the team doing at the QB spot for training camp, and then ultimately the 53 man roster?

Todd Archer
  (12:31 PM)

They have Weeden, Caleb Hanie and Dustin Vaughan behind Romo, so they'd be fine for camp. For the 53, I think they would just keep two QBs. If Orton plays, then I think they keep three.

Grant (Plano) [via mobile]

I did not realize before the draft the Cowboys had such interest in Ryan Shazier. Do you think he would have significantly upgraded the defense at the linebacker spot and been a good fit? I'm happy with the Martin pick for the fit and what was on the board at the time but it would have been nice to get defense at the right value there.

Todd Archer
  (12:32 PM)

I wasn't a huge Shazier fan. He is a tremendous athlete, but there was something that made him boom or bust for me. Martin isn't that way.

cd in wv [via mobile]

If you were building a team and could chose between Ware and Hailey which would you chose? Although I respect both players I feel Hailey shows up in the do or die situations and Ware not so much. Hailey should be in HOF based on his football not his personality. Thanks

Todd Archer
  (12:33 PM)

Ware has more sacks in the fourth quarter than any other quarter in his career, so that's a misnomer. I believe Haley should be in the HOF and will be. But I think I'd choose Ware and I say that in all respect to Haley. And maybe my GM skills aren't so good.

Benjamin Parish (York, Pennsylvania)

Who do you think will be in Dallas d-line rotation this season, will it be good enough for Dallas to have a top 15 defense, and regardless, do you feel that Dallas will need to use a top 64 pick on d-line in the 2015 NFL draft?

Todd Archer
  (12:35 PM)

The Cowboys need to be in that 15 range on defense. Top 15? That's a jump. I think if they're in that 14-20 range they can be in the playoffs if the offense remains solid. As to the second point, yes, they need defensive line help next year. Remember, Spencer, Selvie, Hayden and Melton are all on one-year deals right now.

Pete (work) [via mobile]

Which undrafted free agent do u like?

Todd Archer
  (12:36 PM)

I'm anxious to see Dustin Vaughan since they had a sixth-round grade on him. The Davon Coleman kid was in before the draft, so they like him a lot. The Boyd kid from Vandy has ability too. But don't get carried away with what you hear this weekend.

Kenyatta Adams (Roselle, NJ)

Good Afternoon Todd. I graded the Cowboys recent draft a B. I think the Cowboys would have received an B plus if they would have drafted Ha Ha Clinton Dix with their first pick ,Timmy Jernigan with their second round choice and Kareem Martin with their third round choice!Todd what are your thoughts. Have a great day!!!

Todd Archer
  (12:37 PM)

I liked Clinton-Dix but had questions about him in coverage. I wasn't a big Jernigan fan for this scheme. I like Martin. I understand why they traded up to get Lawrence but that doesn't mean it was the right move. Giving up a 2 and 3 is rough. That puts a lot of pressure on Lawrence.

Rashad (Miami)

Just looking at the numbers, if everyone stays healthy (big IF), I have a hard time seeing Hayden making the roster...any other such vets in some trouble in your opinion?

Todd Archer
  (12:39 PM)

Who's the backup one technique? Bishop? I think Hayden is on the roster right now. I'd put B.W. Webb on the bubble. If they get another blocking tight end, then maybe James Hanna goes on the bubble.

Blake (Lubbock) [via mobile]

Let me throw a scenario out there for ya Todd. The Cowboys win what turns out to be a weak NFC East with a 9-7, 10-6 record. Then lose in the Wildcard Rd to a better NFC West team that didn't win their division. Does Garrett keep his job?

Todd Archer
  (12:40 PM)

I think he keeps his job. Jerry would see the program growing and would want continuity even if the NFC East was weak.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Todd, let me help you with these questions: If the great GM's of the Saints, 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Broncos, and Pats all passed on Jeffcoat, not even using extra 7th round picks to nab the guy, then it is unanimous that he is viewed as a college-standout only. This happens all the time in the NBA. Guys can light up college, but they don't translate to the pros at all. Many of the best pros don't dominate college because they have not peaked athletically yet. The ones who dominate college have already peaked and cannot improve much more.

Todd Archer
  (12:40 PM)

Thanks, Bryan. Any Alex Tanney questions?

Dennis (Dallas)

Do you think there is any chance of taking a look at Vince Young.

Todd Archer
  (12:40 PM)

Nope.

Joe (Midland)

The kid from Bloomsburg at OG, Clarke seems to be a guy that could surprise as a potential backup candidate at OG. Any thoughts.

Todd Archer
  (12:41 PM)

I haven't seen him play but if you're looking at a spot that has openings, it is the backup interior spots. They'd like to keep nine offensive lineman. I've got seven spots filled and two openings with not a lot of proven depth there. He'll get a shot.

Hanson (DC)

Of the picks that happened before Cowboys in the first round was there one you think changed how the Cowboys drafted?

Todd Archer
  (12:42 PM)

Shazier. He was the pick if the Steelers didn't take him.

Jess (Roanoke, VA)

Based on your projection for the starting D-Line, I suppose you have Crawford and Lawrence as nickel guys replacing McClain and Mincey for pass-rush? What odds would you give that they could wind up as the starting DEs over Mincey/Selvie/Spencer?

Todd Archer
  (12:43 PM)

Yep. And they can have Mincey move inside for pass rush as well. When these guys talk rotation, I'd believe them. I think you'll see a bunch of guys play 35 snaps a game. Crawford will have a chance to start if he proves healthy, but right now they just need to take it slow with him. Mincey, Selvie, Crawford can all play inside for pass rush.

randy buckaloo (ks)

do you think amad dixon has a shot at the safety position.

Todd Archer
  (12:44 PM)

Stephen Jones all but guaranteed him a roster spot. But will he start? I don't think so. The hope is he's a special teams' guy that can grow into a defensive role.

Hanson (DC)

Are the Cowboys a team that is stuck in limbo,not bad enough to blow up the roster and start over but not good enough to expect this roster to turn into contender?

Todd Archer
  (12:45 PM)

Sort of, but they have changed the roster over the last few years if you look at it. There aren't a lot of guys left from when Garrett took over. They haven't called it a rebuild. I've called it a re-tool. The core of this team is now guys like Smith, Bryant, Lee, Murray, Church with Romo and Witten as the elder statesmen.

Brian (Jackson, MS)

Todd, take a stab at projecting Lance Dunbar season numbers if he reamins healthy. I believe he could be huge for the offense this year is used correctly.

Todd Archer
  (12:47 PM)

I thought he would have a breakout season last year and he got hurt too much. I'll say he gets 26 catches and rushes for 300 yards. And, yes, I just picked those numbers out of my head. I just don't see Murray coming off the field that much.

Scott (Westminster, CO)

What drafts around the league did you like?

Todd Archer
  (12:47 PM)

I liked what the Rams did best, I think.

joe (texas)

Howdy Todd!! I saw where Jerry said it would cause controversy if Manziel cam in cause "You cant win every game" am I wrong or isn't that a god reason to draft him...Cause he is a good QB not to let him pass to keep from hurting Romos feelings??

Todd Archer
  (12:49 PM)

Roger Staubach said the same thing before the draft. I agree it would've been a circus. I don't think that should completely preclude you from taking a player but it is a factor. Was it THE factor in not taking Manziel? I don't know if it was THE factor.

Davis (Boston)

I think even if the cowboys finish 6-10 they should keep Garrett, he is changing the culture and even changing Jerry for the better. Am I crazy?

Todd Archer
  (12:49 PM)

You're one of the few who believe this. Four years of no playoffs? I can't see him getting another contract.

Davis (Boston)

Should the cowboys go after a slot receiver like Santonio Holmes or are they happy with Beasley and Harris?

Todd Archer
  (12:50 PM)

They're good with Beasley and Harris.

Scott (Westminster, CO)

You don't see Murray coming off the field? You mean when healthy right? Guy runs with a ton of heart but he's slightly built..

Todd Archer
  (12:50 PM)

Missed two games last year. He might be the most important player on the roster. And that's something I wouldn't have said last year. If he's playing, I don't see him coming off the field.

Drew (DC)

What are your thoughts on the future of the O with our young O line and now young WR's? It seems like we've done a great job of prepping this team for a new QB in a few years, but also giving ourselves a chance to compete today.

Todd Archer
  (12:51 PM)

You nailed my feelings. It's good for Romo right now and it will be good for the young QB in the future when they move on from Romo so he won't have to run for his life.

BG (Tampa)

At the very least the Cowboys are getting younger & not paying age (aside from Romo). Who do we give credit to for that? Is Garrett having an effect on JJ's decision making? Is Stephen behind it?

Todd Archer
  (12:52 PM)

Stephen Jones.

Jess (Roanoke, VA)

How do you evaluate Leary vs. Bernadeau for the other starting guard spot? Who graded out better last year? Do they see Leary as a long-term option, making it important to give him snaps for development even if Bernadeau is slightly better?

Todd Archer
  (12:53 PM)

I thought Bernadeau had a better season but there's some folks at Valley Ranch that just like Leary better for whatever reason. I thought Leary wore down at the end, but that's to be expected since he never played so much. I think Bernadeau has been solid. Leary was OK. There's not much difference between the two.

randy buckaloo (ks)

do you think the cowboys power ranking of 22 is deserving.

Todd Archer
  (12:53 PM)

That caught me a little by surprise. I thought they were too low. I would've kept him at 17 or 18. The Giants were too high, IMO. But the Cowboys can do something about it by winning games in 2014.

Aggie (TX)

Opening day, do you expect Dallas to have on of the youngest rosters in the league?

Todd Archer
  (12:55 PM)

They were in the middle of the road last year and lost vets like Ware, Hatcher, Austin and signed younger players. I'd guess they'll be up closer to the top this year.

Zack (Florida)

Who leads the team in sacks this season?

Todd Archer
  (12:56 PM)

I think I said Mincey last week but changed my mind to Melton. How about Lawrence this week? Honestly, I think the hope is they have five or six guys in that 5-10 range.

Todd Archer
  (12:57 PM)

Folks, thanks for all of the questions. Great as usual. I'm heading on ESPN 103.3 radio here in a few minutes. if you have more questions, hit me on Twitter (@toddarcher). I'll have a chat-leftovers post go up on Friday where I'll take some questions I wasn't able to get to here. See you guys next week.