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“You want to do your due diligence on the player, but you don’t want to overkill it because over time you can find something wrong with every player,” Ciskowski said.

Defensive end is another major need. Free agency will thin the club’s depth there, and Dallas would like some upgrades anyway. However, it’s rare to find a 3-4 end who is good enough to be a run-stuffer on first and second downs, then a pass-rusher on third downs.

“If we’re going to pick a guy that high, we’d want him on the field all three downs,” Stephen Jones said. “If that guy were there _ and there are guys like that in this draft _ then you’d have to consider that.”

Could he be there? That’s where things get interesting.

Jerry Jones is hoping for a run on quarterbacks, one of the few positions the Cowboys don’t need, because that would drop other guys toward them. It also would increase the value of their pick in case he wanted to trade down and still get one of the four players Ciskowski expects to be available at No. 9. There’s also the chance Jones would trade up to get someone who starts slipping a bit.

Jones pointed out that when he’s had picks near the top of the draft he has gone for the safe pick, the guy expected to have a long, productive career. He offered cornerback Terence Newman, defensive end Greg Ellis and safety Roy Williams as examples.

“When we’ve been there, which has been not very often, we’ve been pretty sound, I think,” Jones said.

Sound might be all they need _ or, at least, all they think they need.

“I don’t consider us to be rebuilding,” Jones said. “I consider us to be a team that’s trying to add to what we’ve got so that we can compete. Last year’s record does not indicate that, but I don’t view it that way.”

Also Tuesday, several players showed up at team headquarters but didn’t stay long. Despite the lockout being lifted, they were not allowed to work out. Third-string quarterback Stephen McGee, backup offensive linemen Phil Costa and Sam Young, and fullback Chris Gronkowski all arrived in the morning and were gone within an hour.

“We are in the process of determining throughout the league as to just how we’ll proceed and when we’ll open the new year across the league, the new football year,” Jones said. “We have not done that.”