2010 record: 6-10, third place NFC East
2011 draft rundown
Eight total picks (round): 9 (1), 40 (2), 71 (3), 110 (4), 143 (5), 176 (6), 220 (7), 252 (7)
Offensive line: The Cowboys themselves indentified improving the offensive line play as a top offseason priority. The running game, pass protection and short-yardage ground attack has struggled the past two years because of age and injury. The question is how they go about doing it with so many aging veterans with big-money contracts tied to them. The Cowboys could target a tackle in the first round of the draft, which puts a bulls-eye on the future of veteran right tackle Marc Colombo, who has chronic knee problems and limited lateral movement.
Cornerback: The Cowboys must address a secondary that was the worst in team history last year. The best player on the board when the Cowboys pick ninth could be cornerback Prince Amukamara and you can never have too many corners -- especially with an aging Terence Newman seemingly at the end of his career. The Cowboys don't want to pay him $9 million next season and he could be cut.
Safety: The Cowboys are letting their best safety, Gerald Sensabaugh, test the free-agent market as they didn't even try to re-sign him. That's because calling him the best was like saying he was the tallest midget. The Cowboys could have two new starting safeties next season via the draft and free agency.
Defensive end: With Marcus Spears likely gone in free agency and Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher restricted free agents, the Cowboys have just Igor Olshansky under contract. This is a position that not only must be addressed in numbers but needs a player who can step in as the starter and be an anchor at the position. It's one reason why the Cowboys are considering taking an end with the ninth overall pick. Possibilities include Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan.
First pick focus
--Keeping quarterback Tony Romo on the field would seem to be a high priority of head coach Jason Garret. That means the team will need to address their offensive line deficiencies, and the top offensive tackles may all be gone by the team's second round selection. Jerry Jones likes to collect talent, however, so "sexier" picks like cornerback Prince Amukamara or pass rushing five-technique Cameron Jordan could cause the Cowboys to skip Tyron Smith or other offensive tackles at nine.
Five names on Cowboys' board
--OT Tyron Smith, Dallas
--CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
--DE Cameron Jordan, California
--DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
--DE Nick Fairley, Auburn
--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter