With just one more preseason game to go and final cuts only eight days away, rosters are taking shape throughout the NFL. We're back with an updated projection for who will make the Dallas Cowboys' 53 based on the latest news and what we saw in Saturday's win over the Chargers.
Much of what happened in Los Angeles only validated the last projection. Will Grier looked better than Cooper Rush, Israel Mukuamu solidified his spot, and Trysten Hill showed why he shouldn't be ignored.
Oh yeah; KaVontae Turpin did a few things, too.
There are a few changes from the last projection. One guy didn't even make it past first cuts and there's been at least one revision on the defensive line.
Keep reading for a deeper look at the Cowboys projected roster for 2022.
Offense Depth Chart (23)
- QB: Dak Prescott, Will Grier
- RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle
- WR: CeeDee Lamb, Simi Fehoko
- WR: Jalen Tolbert, Noah Brown, KaVontae Turpin
- TE: Dalton Schultz, Sean McKeon, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot
- OT: Tyron Smith, Isaac Alarcón
- G: Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern
- C: Tyler Biadasz, Matt Farniok
- G: Zack Martin
- OT: Terence Steele, Josh Ball
- IR/PUP: WR Michael Gallup, WR James Washington, OT Matt Waletzko
We had FB Ryan Nall making the team in the last projection, only to see him get waived later that day. Nall had been missing with an injury and the team must not have been completely sold on him as a contributor. Instead, it appears they will utilize tight ends or perhaps Connor McGovern as backfield blockers this season.
The spot opened up by Nall's exit allows Dallas to secure Peyton Hendershot. Keeping a fourth TE makes sense if you don't have a fullback. It also ensures that Hendershot, who gets drafted last April if not for some character concerns, doesn't get poached.
I keep wrestling with whether or not Cooper Rush makes the roster as QB3. I think Dallas will want to keep him in the room after all these years of working with Dak Prescott, but that can be accomplished from the practice squad. I think they go that way to save a roster spot for other positions.
Rico Dowdle vs Malik Davis may be the hottest competition on the entire roster right now. Davis has looked a little more explosive with the ball, but can he match Dowdle in things like special teams work, blitz pickup, and other more subtle attributes? I am still deferring to the veteran for now, but I'm so prepared to be wrong.
When is Dallas going to make a move at offensive tackle? Josh Ball didn't look any better against the Chargers than he did in Denver. He's just not a left tackle at this point, not even for one play, and the Cowboys have to go find someone to back up Tyron Smith before the season starts.
Defense Depth Chart (27)
- DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Chauncey Golston
- DT: Osa Odighizuwa, John Ridgeway
- DT: Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Quinton Bohanna
- DE: Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams, Dante Fowler
- LB: Jabril Cox, Anthony Barr
- LB: Micah Parsons, Luke Gifford
- LB: Leighton Vander Esch, Devin Harper
- CB: Trevon Diggs, Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright
- CB: Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, DaRon Bland
- S: Malik Hooker, Israel Mukuamu
- S: Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson, Markquese Bell
- IR: LB Damone Clark
We've made a switch at DT from last time, dumping Carlos Watkins for Quinton Bohanna. While the veteran did good work later and is solid depth, Trysten Hill's resurgence mitigates that need while Bohanna and John Ridgeway offer youthful upside and cheap rookie contracts.
The linebacker and cornerback positions feel locked up at this point. Devin Harper and DaRon Bland have looked good in preseason and have those tasty four-year rookie deals the team would love to preserve.
I'm still toying with the idea that Donovan Wilson doesn't make the team this year. However, he's getting veteran treatment along with Hooker and Kearse in these preseason games and may be more valued than I assume. But with what Israel Mukuamu and Markquese Bell are doing with their opportunities, I've decided to go longer at safety and take the roster spot from somewhere else.
Special Teams (3)
So long, C.J. Goodwin. That roster spot for safety came from the pure specialist. Goodwin's now 32 years old and can give back $1.5 million in cap space is released. While you love the things he can do in coverage and on trick plays, he has no value as a cornerback and there are so many young prospects that the team will want to protect.
Brett Maher is my current pick for kicker. He has that special 60-yard range and isn't any more of a liability for accuracy than Hajrullahu would be. I still think our kicker could wind up being someone currently on another roster, but for now I'm going with Brett of our current candidates.