Cowboys 2016 Roster: Fun With Numbers

    I'll be releasing my pre- projection for the Cowboys next week. As I'm working on that, I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into my thought process behind the numbers that make up the all-important 53 players.

    Not to brag but I've come as close to accurately predicting the cutdowns as any Cowboys analyst I'm aware of. I believe that this is due to my system; a focus on filling pre-ordained spots rather than the pure merits of players.

    A key factor in knowing what roles to fill is knowing how the like to think. That means knowing what the collective priority and ideology of Jerry and , , and Will McClary tends to produce. You only get this over time; the study of their decision making.

    For example, let's just look at the offense.

    Cowboys Draft - Cowboys Should be Happy to "Settle" for Dak Prescott 1At , they will only keep a third player if it's for developmental purposes. If rookie makes a surprising surge to beat, or at least match, and Jameil Showers then Dallas may just need him and for Week One. They would probably Moore and perhaps try to get Showers back to the practice squad. That would be great news for guys at other positions; a roster spot opened up.

    If is going to be the workhorse  then they will only need to keep three. In 2014, Dallas entered the year with just , , and . There were barely any touches for Randle or Dunbar with Murray's extensive role in the offense. Elliott projects to have at least as big a role this year as Murray in 2014.

    plays a huge factor in these decisions. Speaking of running backs, we used to have Phillip Tanner who was an average runner but a standout in coverage. He was the kind of guy who could force the team to go long at running back. Could be the same this year?

    Look at how special teams impact wide receiver. We know that Dallas will have their top four; , , , and . What if a guy like Chris Brown or pushes ahead of ? Needing to have Whitehead as the kick and punt return specialist would likely force Dallas to keep six receivers.

    Where does that sixth spot come from? Maybe it comes from that third QB you didn't need thanks to Prescott. But as we said, that would be a surprise. So more than likely it comes from your and spot.

    Cowboys Blog - Tight End is a Bigger Need Than We Realize 2Dallas has had a true fullback the last few years but it wasn't long ago that they had one of their tight ends serve as the backfield blocker. You can be sure that , and Rico Gathers will get looks in the role to see if they're more effective than . Keeping a fourth tight end and a fullback may not fit the roster math.

    As you can see, everything is connected.

    You almost start to feel like Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind” when you put it all out on table. You're drawing paths between positions and working everything toward a single goal, the number 53. It's the number that will dominate the thinking of these coaches and folks for the next seven weeks.


    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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    George Jonhnson

    There is no way in God's green earth that Prescott or Showers are going to beat out Kellen Moore. The only way I can see this happening is if one of them is the next franchise QB who is a very fast learner/developer. I haven't heard anyone make this claim about Prescott or Showers. You are way under- estimating K Moore and way over- estimating Prescott and Showers knowledge and development. My understanding is if K Moore can't meet the Dallas standard for a 2nd team QB (which is unlikely) then Dallas will start looking to bring in a veteran QB to be the 2nd team QB.

    Bryson T

    Actually, Bryan Broaddus has consistently spoke more highly of Showers than Moore… Most of us consider him a Cowboys expert. hard to argue with him. Especially if you're like me and hate qualifying Moore's performance with things like, "he did really good for a guy of his size." It's never just good or bad with him, is it? Anyway. Just my two cents.

    George Jonhnson

    Depends on what you mean by "more highly". Can Showers run and scramble better than K Moore? I hope so. Can Showers throw the ball harder than K Moore? No doubt. Does Showers physically look more like an NFL QB than K Moore? Absolutely. Will Showers be able to make some difficult throws in TC that Kellen Moore struggles with because of not having a real strong arm? Probably. Does Showers have more upside potential? Maybe. The same thing can be said for Prescott. On the other hand can K Moore be a better pocket passer including the cerebral/instinctive abilities than Showers and Prescott especially in game situations and especially in 2016? YES absolutely. In fact he will probably always be a way better pocket passer than Showers or Prescott. His college coach by the way said and I quote, " He is the best pocket passer I have ever seen." I assume he has seen Brady, Brees and Manning, but maybe not. K Moore was one of the all time best pocket passers in college history. It is absurd to think in 2016 Showers, a glorified rookie or sophmore who was undrafted and Prescott a rookie who was a fourth round pick, can beat out K Moore who has been in the NFL for four years, has improved each year, knows the Dallas offense/playbook well, has S Linehan's confidence/stamp of approval and has some starting experience in the Dallas offense. Dream on.

    Bryson T

    "More highly" was a polite way of saying he puts Showers at #2 before Moore based on practices so far this year and past experiences. And I'm leaving it right there.

    George Jonhnson

    If you don't think it will happen, why write it. I could be wrong about your motives, but it seems to me to reflect a dislike of K Moore or at a minimum under estimating K Moore and some additional wishful thinking. It is obvious to me Dallas is stuck with three or four QBs on the 53 man roster, as they will need to protect Prescott. Showers will likely end up on the practice squad. It is highly unlikely there will be two QBs on the 53 man roster.