Our six-part Camp Preview Series rolls on!
While the majority of those who fail to make the final 53-man roster are unknown players, there are always a few who have real cache in the NFL. Some fall especially hard; starters from the previous season who wind up going from the spotlight to the street.
In Part Two of our series, our staff answers the question:
Who is the Biggest Name that Will be Cut?
Bryson Treece ( @BrysonTreece ) – Unfortunately, I believe this will be Darren McFadden. Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris are locks, as is Lance Dunbar in my opinion. That leaves one spot if the Cowboys don’t keep a FB. Slim pickings. Not saying that DMC is super hot or anything, but he was a solid performer in 2015 and that’s the heart of any team – valuable depth.
Ian Koplowitz ( @BleedingTheStar ) – I was going to go with Andrew Gachkar, but now that Justin Durant has been signed, I don’t think it would surprise most if he got the boot. You don’t often see third round picks not live out their rookie deals, but by going long at quarterback and potentially linebacker, I’m not sure JJ Wilcox’s spot on this team is safe at all. He certainly regressed last season as he saw his interception and tackle totals drop by over half. Granted, the movement of Byron Jones to free safety in the middle of the season hurt his production, but there’s a reason why that move was made.
Jess Haynie ( @CowboysAddicts ) – With Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris joining the backfield, plus Lance Dunbar still in the mix, Darren McFadden’s status is very shaky. Dallas can get back $2 million in cap space by releasing him. As long as Elliott and Morris inspire confidence, I think the Cowboys will make the tough business decision and release McFadden.
Kevin Brady ( @KevinBrady88 ) – I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever if the Cowboys decided to cut tight end Gavin Escobar during training camp. A second round pick in 2013, Escobar has never panned out to what the Cowboys had imagined, and his time to reach those expectations might be up. His release may be disguised as an injury settlement, but make no mistake about it, even if he was fully healthy he would be on the hot seat.
RJ Ochoa ( @RJOchoa ) – Rolando McClain has given this team reason after reason to submit his termination papers. As much sense as it would make for him to be the veteran shown the door, the Cowboys seem intent on holding on to him. Given the status of the defensive ends on this team (you know, how they can’t play and everything) there are going to be tricky elements to shaping this roster with who they need to carry and whatnot. As a result, a guy like Jack Crawford might be on the outs when the final 53 is put together.
Sean Martin ( @ShoreSportsNJ ) – When we go back and talk about this dominant Dallas offensive line one day, it is going to be forever mentioned that the 2015 unit was good enough to lead a running back for 1,089 yards – and then have him cut the following summer. Unfortunately, I believe this is going to be the case for Darren McFadden. Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys’ new prized possession in the backfield, but ultimately it will be the ultra-durable and experienced zone-runner Alfred Morris that forces this team to move on from Run DMC.
Brian Martin ( @bmart0204 ) – I think I’m going to have to go with JJ Wilcox. He has yet to develop the way the Cowboys had hoped and Byron Jones has already claimed the starting position next to Barry Church. The Cowboys recently signed Jeff Heath to a long-term contract, so Wilcox is likely fourth on the depth chart, and there are some talented rookies coming in that could end up pushing him off the roster altogether.
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Here are the categories still to come this week…
Strongest Position – Wed
Weakest Position – Thurs
Favorite Dark Horse – Fri
Most Likely Starting Job Change – Sat
All of this, and much more, as Inside The Star helps get you ready for another season of Dallas Cowboys football!