10. DALLAS COWBOYS (6-10)
LAST SEASON: A slow start turned ugly under first-year coach Mike McCarthy with QB Dak Prescott’s gruesome season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. A late three-game winning streak improbably kept the Cowboys alive in the woeful NFC East until the final weekend. Dallas gave up the most points in franchise history and promptly dumped defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, hired by McCarthy.
FREE AGENCY: Prescott signed $160 million, four-year contract to avoid a second straight year on the franchise tag. Dallas lost backup QB Andy Dalton, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods, DE Aldon Smith, LB Joe Thomas, T Cameron Erving, TE Blake Bell. Re-signed CB Jourdan Lewis, DT Antwaun Woods, WR Noah Brown, WR Cedrick Wilson, CB C.J. Goodwin, WR Malik Turner, DE Ron’Dell Carter. Signed were S Keanu Neal, S Malik Hooker, S Damontae Kazee, S Jayron Kearse, LS Jake McQuaide, DT Carlos Watkins, DE Brent Urban, DE Tarell Basham, T Ty Nsekhe, TE Jeremy Sprinkle, P Bryan Anger.
THEY NEED: CB, S, LB, DL, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: WR, RB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II, Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater, Tulsa LB Zaven Collins, South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn.
OUTLOOK: The Cowboys believe they have the offense to compete for championships, so defense would appear to be the focus of the draft beginning with the 10th pick. But Dallas hasn’t hesitated taking the best player on its board in the past, even if it’s another offensive weapon. Proof came last year when WR CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly was available at No. 17. Don’t rule out a trade down if the Cowboys are confident they can get a player they want later in the first round.
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