In Case You Missed It

A lot has happened over the course of the last few weeks at Valley Ranch. In this report, we recap all the biggest news, including the hiring of assistant coaches, early draft rumors from the new coaching staff, and a look at all the unrestricted free agents.

Coach Bill Parcells retained defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and hired offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon from Detroit. Defensive ends coach Jim Jeffcoat was also re-hired.

Unrestricted Free Agents -- Tackle Flozell Adams could return under the right circumstances; tackle Solomon Page will not be back; defensive tackle Brandon Noble liked Dallas but money will determine his future home; defensive tackle Michael Myers will not be back; defensive end Peppi Zellner will not be back; tight end Mike Lucky not likely to be back, but will be moved to tackle if he does; wide receiver Darnay Scott is gone with offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet likely gone.

In looking towards the 2003 NFL draft this April, the Cowboys' needs are clearly at running back, cornerback, defensive end, offensive linemen, linebackers and quarterback.

Drafting a player to fill the shoes of Emmitt Smith is a priority. Unfortunately, after Miami's Willis McGahee injury in the Fiesta Bowl the focus at running back may have already shifted down to Colorado's Chris Brown.

Other pressing needs include a shutdown corner and pass rush specialist. While rebuilding the offensive line will be a huge priority, Bill Parcells will likely draft players that will allow him to switch to the 3-4 on defense.

He likes big linebackers and the Cowboys have the undersized Dexter Coakley and Dat Nguyen leading the way right now. A possible trade down scenario could very well be the case come April 27th. Trading down will allow more draft picks and more options for Parcells, Jones, and the new coaching staff.

Ten players ended the season injured reserve: WR Anthony Lucas (knee) will not be back; S Darren Woodson (hernia) will return in time for the offseason program; FB Jamar Martin (knee) should be ready for training camp; TE Bob Slowikowski (knee) should be ready for minicamps in June; LB Jamal Brooks (leg) should be ready for offseason program in March; OT Larry Allen (ankle) will be ready to work in offseason program in March; WR Raghib Ismail (neck) wants to return but money will be a factor; TE Jeff Robinson (knee) will be back to serve as deep snapper and third tight end; OG Marques McFadden (shoulder) will be ready for minicamp but not likely to make the team; OG Dan Collins (knee) will be ready for minicamp but not likely to make the team.

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