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    Breaking Down the Cowboys Depth Chart

    The start of the comes with a lot of questions about how certain players will be utilized. Debates over named starters and workload distributions abound, and only the actual games will tell us the full story.

    However, the team's posted does share some interesting nuggets about where the Cowboys are leaning regarding certain players and positions. For today, let's look at their list and see what it tells.

    STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
    WR D. Bryant B. Butler
    TE J. Witten G. Swaim G. Escobar
    LT T. Smith
    LG L. Collins R. Leary
    C T. Frederick J. Looney
    RG Z. Martin
    RT D. Free C. Green
    WR T. Williams C. Beasley L. Whitehead
    QB D. Prescott M. Sanchez
    FB R. Smith K. Smith
    HB E. Elliott A. Morris L. Dunbar D. Jackson

     

    Going down the list, the first noteworthy item is Geoff Swaim being above at . During the I assumed that , based on his new contract, had leapfrogged Escobar as the second tight end thanks to his blocking ability. It appears that Swaim has taken up the mantle while Hanna is on the PUP list, leaving Escobar buried in what is likely his final year as a Cowboy.

    At quarterback, wasn't even put on depth chart. That tells you just how “out” he is for the moment. Perhaps they felt it was be an indignity to put him anywhere but QB1, but also didn't want to create any confusion about his availability.

    Rod Smith is currently the starter at fullback over Keith Smith, which is a surprise as Keith appeared to have the better . This could indicate that Dallas intends to use the fullback more as an offensive weapon than a traditional blocker, which would work in Rod's interests more so than Keith.

    Everything else is what you'd expect. So, let's move on to the

    DEFENSE
    STARTER 2ND 3RD
    LDE J. Crawford D. Irving
    LDT T. Crawford M. Collins
    RDT T. McClain C. Thornton
    RDE B. Mayowa C. Tapper
    WLB S. Lee J. Durant
    MLB A. Hitchens M. Nzeocha
    SLB A. Gachkar K. Wilber D. Wilson
    CB B. Carr
    CB M. Claiborne D. Swanson
    CB O. Scandrick A. Brown
    SS B. Church J. Wilcox K. Frazier
    FS B. Jones J. Heath

     

    Benson Mayowa is no surprise as a starting . He was signed to nearly $3 million in average salary as a , indicating that Dallas saw him in a significant role. gets the nod over for now while is suspended.

    Dallas' biggest 2016 free agent , , is listed below in the base defense. This is more of a technicality than anything; Thornton will get plenty of reps and may even see more total playing time as one of the nickel tackles. However, after two years of waiting for McClain to be healthy, Dallas is probably anxious to finally get their money's worth.

    At , is listed as a starter over or Justin Durant. This is a surprise to me, especially in regards to Wilber. While Gachkar had a good season in 2015, Wilber seems more like the prototypical strong side linebacker. Like with McClain and Thornton at DT, I expect a healthy rotation and shared duties.

    Dallas made a point to list , , and all as “starters.” Yesterday, said that the base starters would be Scandrick and Carr. This caused a good bit of complaint among fans and followers. Personally, I think it's a temporary issue.

    Dallas is showing veteran deference to Carr right now, a locker room leader who hasn't missed a game since signing here. The job is Claiborne's to take if he can stay healthy and finally carry his Oxnard and preseason hype into September. It's just another carrot for Claiborne in an all-important reclamation season.

    STARTER 2ND 3RD
    K D. Bailey
    P C. Jones
    PR L. Whitehead C. Beasley
    KR L. Whitehead M. Claiborne D. Jackson
    LS L. Ladouceur

     

    The only notable items here are in the return game. I'm still flabbergasted by seeing Morris Claiborne's name anywhere on these lists. I can't fathom how a guy with his would ever be allowed to return kickoffs. It will be interesting to see if, should Lucky Whitehead have an issue, they're truly ready to put him in.

    It's also surprising to not see 's name on either list. His return ability was clear during the preseason and seemed to be a reason he made the team. That he's not in the mix as a returner likely says that Dallas doesn't plan to dress him for games at this time.

    ~ ~ ~

    These charts certainly don't tell us the full story, but they do give us some early indications of how the team perceives certain players. There will be plenty of room for change, of course, over the next four months of football.

    Who will move up the depth chart? Who will keep jobs and who will lose them?

    Maybe we'll start getting some answers this Sunday.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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