The Cowboys have huge needs at defensive tackle and safety, so it’s a safe bet that the club’s trend of using its first-round pick on a defensive player will continue this year.

Over the past 52 drafts, the Cowboys in the first round have selected 27 defensive players and 21 offensive players. The defensive line, with 15 selections, has been the most targeted position by the Cowboys in the first round. Rounding out the top five is running back (eight), defensive back (7), wide receiver (five), offensive line (four).

In last year’s draft, the Cowboys selected five defensive players and two offensive players, with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne being selected first with the No. 6 overall pick. In 52 years, Dallas has selected more defensive players than offensive players 18 times, including 11 times in the past 20 drafts.

The 2013 NFL Draft is set for Thursday through Saturday. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will discuss the club’s draft plans at a news conference at 1 p.m. Monday.