NFL scouting combine primer: Dallas Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – Last week the Cowboys coaches and front office met to discuss the personnel on the roster and players who could leave, such as Anthony Spencer. This week the Cowboys head to the NFL scouting combine to begin in earnest the search for new players.

The Cowboys will get the chance to meet officially with 60 players during interviews that last 15 minutes apiece. They will hold informal discussions with other players, as well.

The two most important parts of the combine are the interviews and the medical information, with all of the players taking physicals.

The most talked about part of the combine -- and often the most overrated -- will be the workouts. Drills don’t really mean the guy can play (or can’t play) on Sundays.

The Cowboys' needs are pretty clear: Offensive and defensive line, safety, linebacker, cornerback, tight end and wide receiver.

With a sticky salary cap situation, the Cowboys must draft well. The drafts the last three years have been better (Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Sean Lissemore, Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray, Dwayne Harris, Morris Claiborne, Tyrone Crawford, James Hanna), but they don’t make up for the poor ones from 2007-09.

The Cowboys have six picks in the April draft, having dealt their seventh-round pick to Miami for center Ryan Cook. They are not expecting a compensatory pick for losing Laurent Robinson, Martellus Bennett, Bradie James and Abram Elam in free agency.

For the Cowboys to get over the 8-8 hump, they must win the draft. That’s why the combine matters so much.