Draft strengths set up for Cowboys' weaknesses

INDIANAPOLIS – With workouts commencing today at the NFL scouting combine, the Cowboys could find themselves in an enviable position in April because their needs seem to match up with the strengths of the draft.

The Cowboys have what would appear to have early-round draft needs on the defensive and offensive lines, as well as safety.

“We just got out of eight days of draft meetings and preset our board as we come down here and feel this is, at least in my opinion, one of the strongest defensive tackle classes that have come out in a while,” Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said.

There could be as many as a dozen defensive lineman selected in the first round, and the Cowboys have a need with their move to the 4-3 under new coordinator Monte Kiffin. Pass rush is at a premium because Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli would rather be able to bring pressure with four players than have to blitz.

On the offensive line, the Cowboys could be looking for tackle, guard and center help and there are players who will fit at all three spots, including Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker, North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper and Alabama’s Barrett Jones who could be had in the top three rounds.

Chicago general manager Phil Emery said he sees up to five safeties who can become starters.

“There are five or six starters in this class at safety,” Emery said, “and that’s rare to me.”