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NFL DRAFT 2014: Defensive front big priority for Cowboys, but not only need

The Dallas Cowboys didn't draft a defensive lineman last year even though they were switching to a scheme that required one more.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones kept calling it a "position of strength," a claim the son of owner and general manager Jerry Jones can't make now that the Dallas has released franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware. And even though the Cowboys added several free agents to their front four, the search is on for their next elite pass rusher.

Dallas has plenty of other needs after a third straight 8-8 season and a fourth consecutive year without the playoffs. The Cowboys have the 16th pick Thursday night.

If the Cowboys don't take a defensive player, the most likely offensive option is a lineman.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler