We have 26 spots left for the defense after projecting the offensive and special teams positions, which you can see using the link above. As a reminder, we're not including suspended players (DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory) or players expected to start the year on the PUP list (rookie Jaylon Smith).
DE: Benson Mayowa, David Irving, Charles Tapper, Ryan Russell,
Jack Crawford (5)
All of these guys should be on the Week One roster. Some have position flexibility like Irving and Crawford, so they may be playing more DT than DE in the long run. However, I would expect them to get more run on the outside during the Lawrence and Gregory suspensions.
The big question is who stays on the roster when the suspensions are over. Four weeks is a long time so injuries may settle the issue over performance. Right now I'd assume that Russell will be on the chopping block unless he shows a lot of development from his rookie year. Crawford, who turns 28 in September, could be a fall guy due to age despite his versatility and value.
DT: Tyrone Crawford,
Cedric Thornton, Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain (4)
If Terrell McClain were to ever stay healthy and play then he could push for a starting job in the base defense. He has the power to play the one-technique but enough explosiveness to try and rush the passer. Dallas has been paying his medical bills for a while and wants to get something for their trouble, but McClain will have to have a rare streak of good health to stick around.
It is very possible that Tyrone Crawford could end up starting the season as the strongside defensive defensive end. Guys like Irving or Jack Crawford could move back inside as needed to allow for that. Collins, a third-round pick, seems ready-made for Marinelli's scheme and could be contributing fairly early.
ILB: Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson (3)
The Cowboys' backup linebackers are all fairly versatile so don't put much stock in these position listings. Hitchens has started games on the outside before and can player any spot, as can Wilson according to scouts.
The good news for all of these young linebackers is that Dallas didn't draft anyone, no doubt happy with the crop of talent they already have. I don't expect any chance from last year's group, barring injury or a shocking development from undrafted linebacker Deon King. He did lead the nation in tackles last year.
OLB: Sean Lee, Kyle Wilber, Andrew Gachkar, Mark Nzeocha (4)
Not much to add here to what was said above. Right now I'm leaning toward Wilber as the starting "Sam" linebacker but you have a lot of young guys in the mix and any of them could emerge. Hitchens had a sophmore slump but would be a front-runner if he gets back to 2014 form.
Carr's agreeing to a pay cut makes him a lock for this year's roster. Claiborne will get his one-year shot at redemption and to stick around in the future. The only way he might be threatened is if Byron Jones ends up playing corner, but I don't expect that.
I chose Olatoye over Terrance Mitchell because he provides a size a size advantage that our other cornerbacks lack. Plus, Dallas has already cut Mitchell once before in his rookie season.
Sixth-round picks are never guaranteed to make the roster but Anthony Brown had a fourth-round grade, per Stephen Jones, and has 4.35 speed. He should make a nice gunner on special teams.
S: Byron Jones, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier (5)
Jones will likely still be a bit of a hybrid player. I could see him playing corner to match up against large receivers and he will certainly draw the assignment of guarding athletic tight ends. If he does moves to one position, though, I fully expect it to be safety.
Even if one of them loses their starting job I see both Church and Wilcox on the roster. Wilcox is still a nice special teams player and is in the last year of his rookie deal, so his salary is okay for a backup.
Like Brown at corner, the rookie Frazier was also said to have a fourth-round grade. Five safeties may be heavy but not if Jones is still going to get moved around. Of everyone I've listed today on both side of the ball, though, Frazier is the guy I'm the least sure about. I could easily see him being released in favor of Terrance Mitchell or another defensive lineman.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
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