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Twitter mailbag: Cowboys' running game will be heavy on Elliott

The Cowboys will likely give most of their carries to first-round draft pick Ezekiel Elliott. Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:

  • One running back or two?

  • The Week 1 defensive line

  • Trading Ronald Leary

Away we go:

@toddarcher: In his first year with the Cowboys, Scott Linehan had DeMarco Murray run the ball on 392 of the 472 carries by running backs in 2014. Last season Darren McFadden had 239 of the 367 carries by running backs, and he didn't become the lead runner until the sixth week of the season. The Cowboys will talk about wanting to use multiple backs, but I think they will settle on a lead back and it will be Ezekiel Elliott. It almost has to be Elliott because he was the fourth pick in the draft. If it's not, then the plan went wrong. Do I think the carries will go to the extreme, like 2014? No, but I'm not sure we'll see McFadden or Alfred Morris reach 100 carries on the season if Elliott plays the way the Cowboys hope he will. It sets up interesting decisions as far as trades or the final roster. In May, it's good to have a number of runners, but come September, I think this will be Elliott's job.

@toddarcher: I thought it was interesting to see Ryan Russell as the starting left defensive end on the first OTA we watched Wednesday. I don't know if that will be the case Week 1. Losing Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence takes away their best two outside pass-rushers. Gregory had no sacks as a rookie, but Lawrence had eight last season. They have talked about moving Tyrone Crawford to defensive end, but I'm not a fan of taking a guy from his best spot and asking him to do things out of his comfort zone. The options aren't the best, but here's what I would forecast, which means it will be completely wrong on Sept. 11 against the New York Giants: Crawford and Cedric Thornton will be the defensive tackles. Benson Mayowa will line up at right defensive end and David Irving will be the left defensive end. But I don't think we should get carried away with "starter," because the Cowboys will mix and match a lot of players as they go through the season.

@toddarcher: I don’t think the odds are very high. The Cowboys had discussions with teams around the draft about a potential trade but didn’t find anything to their liking. The Tennessee Titans lost guard Byron Bell to an ankle injury this week, so perhaps that spurs on some action. If -- and it’s a big if -- something goes down, I would think it would be around training camp if teams get a little more desperate or if there are more injuries. While Leary has not had any trouble with a knee injury that caused teams to pass on him in the draft when he entered the league, teams are still going to be cautious. Plus, he is signed for just one season. To get the best value, he would likely have to agree to some kind of extension before a deal gets done. Teams aren’t going to give up a lot for a player on the final year of his deal, especially a guard. I hate to minimize the value of the position, but it’s true.