With free agency just around the corner, and the 2012 NFL draft to follow, we again asked the Scouts Inc. crew to break down the tape, consider the market and point out the biggest needs for each team as we head into a solid stretch of player movement.
1. Cornerback: The Cowboys were exposed in their secondary last season, ranking 23rd in pass defense. Terence Newman will be entering his 10th season if he's back for 2012, while Michael Jenkins hasn't been consistent enough in his four years. During the past five seasons, the Cowboys have drafted only one cornerback in the first three rounds. They'll look hard at that position this offseason.
2. Safety: With the amount of blitzing Rob Ryan does as a defensive coordinator, his scheme needs consistency from the safety position. Missed assignments and tackles, along with not making plays on the ball were common for the Cowboys' safeties in 2011. They need a versatile playmaking safety to help defend the likes of Eli Manning and Michael Vick twice a year.
3. Defensive end: The Cowboys held up well against the run, allowing fewer than 100 yards per game. The scheme doesn't call for pass-rushing defensive ends, but acquiring depth to play behind Kenyon Coleman, entering his 12th season, and Jason Hatcher, entering his seventh season, will be valuable for the defense down the road.
Other needs: Backup QB, G, WR