The Dallas Cowboys have made their final cuts down to the 53 players that will represent America’s Team against the New York Giants in eight days. Some surprising names did not make it past final cuts, which you can track right here.
The Cowboys do have a high priority on the waiver wire at fourth overall, so there is still a chance to replace this outgoing talent with fresh bodies. For now, here are the four names that jumped out to me when the Cowboys announced their cuts.
TE Rico Gathers
The Cowboys had four picks in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and used one such pick to take a chance on Baylor University basketball star Rico Gathers. Gathers, with his immense size and talent-ceiling, instantly became a fan favorite player to watch throughout training camp.
In Oxnard, Gathers did not do much to develop in his first organized football action since high school, and only made his presence felt in the final preseason game on Thursday against the Texans.
Dallas’ situation at tight end was going to be an interesting one after the injury to James Hanna, and they decided to go short in replacing their primary blocking tight end by moving on from Gathers along with Austin Traylor.
Gathers would be eligible for the Cowboys’ practice squad if no other team claims him off of waivers.
TE Austin Traylor
Speaking of Traylor, the roster long shot upon his signing out of Wisconsin actually played well as a potential replacement to Hanna as a physical blocker.
Ultimately, the Cowboys’ decision to hold onto two fullbacks – and core special teams players – in Rod Smith and Keith Smith forced them to move on from a player with as limited of a role as Traylor.
Geoff Swaim, a favorite target of Dak Prescott this preseason, will be asked to take on a larger role as a pass catcher as well as a blocker now.
DE Mike McAdoo
It would be hard to find another team in the NFL with a worse situation at defensive end than the Cowboys. Still, the team has moved on from two edge rushers in the past two days, starting with Ryan Russell.
McAdoo, while incredibly raw, was speculated as a LDE replacement for Russell until DeMarcus Lawrence returns from his four game suspension. Now, Dallas will likely rely on David Irving while keeping a close eye on the waiver wire.
I’ll be hoping for rookie defensive end Tyrone Holmes, a recently released sixth round pick from the Jaguars, to end up in the silver and blue prior to week 1.
CB Deji Olatoye
Ever since seeing significant playing time near the end of the 2015 season, Deji Olatoye has been one of my “pet cat” players in the Dallas secondary. His struggles against the Texans in the final preseason game ultimately cost Deji his spot on the team, but prior to that Olatoye presented a desirable combination of cover ability and physical size that made him a roster lock for some.
Isaiah Frey was also released by the team, who may have been able to offer more versatility to Rod Marinelli’s defense as both a corner and a safety. Instead, Dax Swanson has played his way onto the roster as a corner back and punt return option with virtually no experience at safety.