Already needing to add depth along the offensive line and at safety during the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys' needs at those positions were further crystallized Friday with the release of left tackle Flozell Adams and free safety Ken Hamlin.
Drafted in the second round by Dallas in 1998, Adams has slowed noticeably in recent seasons, which contributed his high number of penalties -- 39 over the past three seasons, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Beyond starting right tackle Marc Colombo and backup Doug Free, who showed promise filling in for Colombo last season, the Cowboys are extremely thin at tackle. Four-year veteran reserve Pat McQuistan is the only other tackle on the current roster, and depth is also thin at guard.
"He has enjoyed his time in Dallas with his teammates and the Cowboys' organization," Adams' agent, Jordan Woy, told the Dallas Morning News. "Now it is time to move on to a new team. Flo feels he has several good years in front of him."
That came shortly after Hamlin announced he had been released by the Cowboys on his Twitter account -- a move the team later confirmed.
"I would like to say to all of my fans that I appreciate all the love that you have showed me in Dallas. It was a good run..... Thanks," Hamlin tweeted.
Hamlin, a solid tackler who isn't a great last line of defense in deep coverage, was scheduled to make $5.596 million in 2010. He has just one interception since signing a six-year, $39 million deal in 2008.
His likely immediate replacement is Alan Ball, who showed potential while starting three games when Hamlin was injured last season.
"He struggled the first week with some things, another week out there helped," defensive backs coach Dave Campo said about Ball after the Cowboys beat Oakland in Week 12. "There's no substitute for playing the game, that's the key. The longer and more he plays, the better he'll be. He's doing really good. A smart guy. His biggest thing is to be a good angle tackler, something that he hasn't been used to more than anything else."
The team has also met with several safety prospects in this year's draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com, including Texas' Earl Thomas, Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett, LSU's Chad Jones and South Florida's Nate Allen -- all rated as top 64 picks by the service.
It's no secret the Cowboys are also thinking about adding wide receivers and have visited with Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant, the top-rated wide receiver by NFLDraftScout.com. Owner Jerry Jones had dinner with Bryant on Wednesday night. LSU's Brandon LaFell, Illinois' Arrelious Benn and Ohio's Taylor Price have also talked with the Cowboys.
Other prospects they have met with include Kentucky fullback John Conner, Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel, Missouri State tight end Clay Harbor, Ole Miss guard/tackle John Jerry, Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty, Penn State defensive end Jared Odrick, Florida guard/center Maurkice Pouncey, Indiana (Pa.) defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, UMass offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, Penn State linebackers Sean Lee and Navarro Bowman, Cal defensive end Tyson Alualu and Wake Forest defensive back Brandon Ghee.
The known visitors included four offensive lineman, four wide receivers, three safeties, three cornerbacks, two defensive linemen, one inside linebacker, one outside linebacker, one tight end and one fullback.
The Cowboys have picks in every round of the draft except the fifth. They have said they will be looking at all positions, including with pick No. 27 in the first round.