Stephen Jones: Cowboys 'certainly want to improve our defensive football team' in draft

The top 10 of seemingly every 2021 NFL Draft prognostication is chock-full of offensive players. Whether it's five quarterbacks or a trove of receivers in the mix, rarely has a defensive player been mocked high this offseason.

For clubs drafting a few slots later, the top defensive players getting pushed down the board could be a boon.

The Dallas Cowboys, sitting at No. 10 overall, could be the biggest beneficiary depending on how the draft unfolds.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones admitted the obvious Monday during a radio interview on 105.3 FM The Fan: Dallas needs to upgrade its defense in the draft.

"We are, we think, going to get some great opportunities because of the depth -- not only at quarterback, but offense in general," he said via the team’s official website. "We've made no bones about it: Barring something very opportunistic, we certainly want to improve our defensive football team."

With Dallas clearly in need of defensive additions after a disastrous 2020 season, the plethora of QBs who could come off the board early should play well with the Cowboys' needs.

"Certainly with the draft, pretty much unanimous that people are thinking there are five first-round quarterbacks, that certainly helps us out since we signed our quarterback of the future just this spring and know he's our answer to that riddle," Jones said.

The Cowboys could have their pick of defensive players come April 29.

With the losses of secondary players Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods to free agency, most predict Dallas to grab a corner, given it's the position with the most upside early in this draft. Corners Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn have each been linked to Dallas. Linebacker Micah Parsons is an athletic option at that spot. While the draft has no top-tier defensive linemen, the top two projected edge rushers, Kwity Paye or Jaelan Phillips, can't be ruled out either.

"You can never have enough defensive linemen, and we lost Chidobe in free agency -- and obviously our ongoing, annual need for safety, which never seems to end either in terms of draft pick resource or dollar resource. It's been at the low end of the totem pole," Jones said. "And then with the game becoming such a game that's played in space, you can't have enough of those linebackers that can cover."

After employing one of the worst defensive units in the NFL last season, adding a first-round talent at any level seems like a no-brainer. Of course, there is always a chance that an uber-talented offensive weapon falls to Dallas at No. 10, and owner Jerry Jones scoops him up without blinking. We've seen it before -- just last year with CeeDee Lamb.

With just over a week away from the draft, the obvious focus for Dallas should be on defense or restocking the offensive line.

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