IRVING, Texas – By attempting to cover most of their bases in free agency, the Cowboys' plan to draft as purely as possible next week, meaning 'best player available.' But certain position needs remain evident.
There's no clear-cut running back replacement for DeMarco Murray; further defensive line reinforcements would help the defense's modest 28-sack total from a year ago; and Orlando Scandrick's absence at the start of voluntary workouts further complicates cornerback, at least temporarily, with Mo Claiborne already recovering from knee surgery and Brandon Carr currently absorbing a large 2015 cap figure.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones mentioned running back, defensive line and cornerback this week when asked about draft needs. The good news: Based on the club's pre-draft prep, he sees depth at all three positions throughout the seven-round format.
"We may have gotten fortunate," Jones said in an interview with 105.3 The Fan, "in that there may be some good football players on the board deep into the draft in terms of the positions that we'd like to solidify."
The Cowboys currently sit at No. 27 in the first round, but history shows Jones and the front office aren't tied to their slotted pick. They've traded twice in the last three drafts – up to grab Claiborne in 2012, down to take center Travis Frederick late in the first round as well as receiver Terrance Williams with an extra third-rounder from the 49ers.
"If guys are there that we feel like are great value then we'll pick away," Jones said. "If we feel like we need to move up a little then we're not opposed to that, and we're certainly not opposed to moving down."
Everything's on the table, which is what you expect to hear just over a week before draft night.