Carpenter walked among us

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Happy times are here again. The upside to the Cowboys losing former second-round pick Kevin Burnett in free agency is that it creates an opportunity for former first-round pick Bobby Carpenter. In addition to being a go-to guy on ESPN's "First Take," Carpenter has been a valuable part of the Cowboys' special teams unit.

Now Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News thinks that Carpenter can be an adequate replacement for Burnett at inside linebacker: "Carpenter is athletic. He is a workout fiend. He can cover tight ends and backs. He has experience blitzing. Those are musts in this defense as a nickel linebacker. At least give him the chance to really show he can't do it."

You could argue that Carpenter's done a pretty good job showing he can't do it over the past four seasons, but that feels like such a cynical point of view. Is anyone out there holding out hope that Carpenter can be a steady contributor as a nickel linebacker?

I'm willing to listen.