If the Cowboys are looking for a blueprint for what they need to accomplish in next month’s draft, all they have to do is flip back to 2005.

Nine years ago, the Cowboys hit big by selecting four college defensive linemen who combined for 364 starts in Dallas and 11 Pro Bowls.

The Cowboys found four defensive starters going into their first season in their new 3-4 defense under Bill Parcells. Defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears were first-round selections, end Chris Canty was a fourth-rounder and Dallas used its lone seventh-round pick to draft tackle Jay Ratliff.

Ware started at outside linebacker and became the club’s all-time sacks leader with 117, but the likely Hall of Famer will play for Denver in 2014. Ratliff rewarded the Cowboys with four Pro Bowls before an ugly ending to his Dallas career. Spears started more games for the Cowboys than Ratliff, and Canty started every game for Dallas from 2006 to 2008.

Since 2005, the Cowboys have ignored their defensive line for the most part and have put themselves in a tough situation heading into May’s draft. They face the daunting task of rebuilding their defensive line in their second season in a new 4-3 scheme after finishing 2013 with the NFL’s worst defense.

Going into the 2013 season, the Cowboys expected their front four to be Ware, Ratliff, Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer. Now, none of them are on the roster except for the recently resigned Spencer.

The Cowboys are obviously dialed in on fixing their defensive front. NFL teams are allowed to bring in 30 players for pre-draft visits, and the Cowboys have used about half of their spots on defensive linemen.

The Cowboys need a repeat of 2005, but finding even two defensive starters in one draft is often hard to accomplish.