The cornerback class is loaded with talent in every round. Trae Waynes should go just outside the top 10, and four other cornerbacks could follow in the first round. The safety crop is one of the weakest in recent memory and arguably the most unimpressive position in the draft. Landon Collins should go in the first round, but after him, no other safety excites scouts.
The Cowboys tried to shore up their cornerback position before the 2012 season when they signed then-free-agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal, and traded up in the draft to select LSU’s Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick. But Carr hasn’t lived up to the contract, and the Cowboys are expected to ask him to take a pay cut, which could lead to his release. Claiborne has missed 18 regular-season games the past two seasons, including 12 last season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee. Even when healthy, Claiborne has done nothing to give the Cowboys an indication that he ever will develop into a shutdown corner. Orlando Scandrick has become the team’s most reliable corner, but he is skipping the team’s voluntary off-season workouts as he seeks a new deal. The Cowboys claimed Corey White off waivers from the New Orleans Saints to replace Sterling Moore as a backup option. Starting safeties J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church do what the Cowboys ask. Though they rarely make game-changing plays, they are sure tacklers who don’t give up many big plays.
Top five defensive backs
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State, 6-0, 186, 4.31 40: He made 27 career starts with 101 tackles, 19 pass breakups and six interceptions.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest, 6-0, 188, 4.52: He made 41 career starts with 42 pass breakups and seven interceptions.
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington, 6-0, 197, 4.53: He has red flags, which will prompt some teams to pass on him despite 27 starts, 35 pass breakups and 11 interceptions in his career.
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut, 6-1, 199, 4.42: He made 38 career starts with 223 tackles, 26 pass breakups and eight interceptions.
Landon Collins, S, Alabama, 6-0, 228, 4.53: He made 23 starts with 190 tackles, 18 pass breakups and five interceptions.
Nick Marshall, CB, Auburn, 6-1, 207, 4.54: A quarterback for the Tigers, Marshall began his college career as a CB at Georgia.
Top Texas ties
Eric Rowe, CB, Utah, 6-1, 205, 4.45: The Klein product, a potential first-rounder, made 45 starts with 37 pass breakups and three interceptions.
Kevin White, CB, TCU, 5-9, 183, 4.63: White, projected as a fourth-rounder, made 40 starts with 33 pass breakups and six interceptions.
Craig Mager, CB, Texas State, 5-11, 201, 4.39: Mager, projected as a fourth- or fifth-rounder, made 48 career starts with 47 pass breakups and eight interceptions.
JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas, 5-11, 199, 4.62: The Mesquite product, projected as a fourth- or fifth-rounder, moved from receiver to the secondary during the 2012 season and made 35 pass breakups and five interceptions.
Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas, 5-9, 196, 4.56: Diggs, projected as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, made 49 career starts with 241 tackles, 48 pass breakups and 11 interceptions.
Chris Hackett, S, TCU, 6-0, 195, 4.81: Hackett, projected as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, made 34 starts with 224 tackles, 28 pass breakups and 12 interceptions.
Heights, weights and 40 times compiled from CBS Sportsline.
April 30-May 2, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Chicago.
Round 1: 7 p.m. April 30. Rounds 2-3: 6 p.m., May 1. Rounds 4-7, 11 a.m., May 2. TV: NFL Network, ESPN/ESPN2
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2 Tennessee Titans
3 Jacksonville Jaguars
4 Oakland Raiders
5 Washington Redskins
6 New York Jets
7 Chicago Bears
8 Atlanta Falcons
9 New York Giants
10 St. Louis Rams
11 Minnesota Vikings
12 Cleveland Browns
13 New Orleans Saints
14 Miami Dolphins
15 San Francisco 49ers
16 Houston Texans
17 San Diego Chargers
18 Kansas City Chiefs
19 Cleveland Browns
20 Philadelphia Eagles
21 Cincinnati Bengals
22 Pittsburgh Steelers
23 Detroit Lions
24 Arizona Cardinals
25 Carolina Panthers
26 Baltimore Ravens
27 Dallas Cowboys
28 Denver Broncos
29 Indianapolis Colts
30 Green Bay Packers
31 New Orleans Saints
32 New England Patriots