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Friday, April 2, 2010
Cowboys' cuts create glaring draft needs

By Tim MacMahon

At the NFL scouting combine, Jerry Jones talked about how his Dallas Cowboys didn’t have any glaring draft needs.

That is no longer the case after they cut two veteran starters, bidding farewell to left tackle Flozell Adams and free safety Ken Hamlin on Good Friday.

The Cowboys made no secret of the fact that they were considering parting ways with Adams and Hamlin, but the timing of the releases comes as a bit of a surprise. And that has nothing to do with the holiday.

The Cowboys have now put themselves in a position where they probably need to spend premium picks on a tackle and safety. They no longer have the luxury of proven veterans as insurance policies.

At tackle, the Cowboys believe that Doug Free is ready to replace Adams, a fixture there for the last dozen years. But they now have no proven depth at the position. They can’t rely on Robert Brewster, a third-round pick who missed his rookie season with a torn pectoral, to be the swing tackle, especially since he’s not considered left tackle material.

At safety, Alan Ball proved during a four-game stint as a fill-in starter last season that he can at least be adequate, although his size is a concern in run support. The Cowboys also consider Michael Hamlin, who is not related to Ken, to be a candidate to earn a starting job. But we’re talking about a seventh-round converted cornerback and a fifth-round pick who basically no NFL experience.

Left tackle and free safety were considered the Cowboys' primary draft needs before they got rid of the incumbent starters. Now they have no choice but to use picks on those positions.