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Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2)

Click here for Part One, which covered the offense and special teams.


We have 26 spots left for the after projecting the offensive and positions, which you can see using the link above. As a reminder, we're not including suspended players (, ) or players expected to start the year on the PUP list (rookie ).

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2) 5DE: 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 .

The big question is who stays on the roster when the suspensions are over. Four weeks is a long time so 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.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2) 4
AP Photo/James D Smith

DT: Tyrone Crawford,
Cedric Thornton, Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain (4)

If 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 could end up starting the season as the strongside defensive . Guys like Irving or 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.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2) 3ILB: 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 or a shocking development from undrafted 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.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2) 2CB: Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, D.J. Olatoye,
Anthony Brown (5)

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 ends up playing corner, but I don't expect that.

I chose Olatoye over 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 had a fourth-round grade, per , and has 4.35 speed. He should make a nice gunner on special teams.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys 2016 Roster Projection: Post-Draft Edition (Part 2) 1S: 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 .

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 .


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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