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    Cowboys’ Defense: Pre-Training Camp 53-Man Roster Prediction

    Unfortunately, this is the time of year where things are really slow in the NFL, which is why I thought it would be the perfect time to share with all you my pre- 53-man roster prediction for the . Yesterday I shared with you my predictions for the Cowboys' offense and also included the specialist, so today I will turn my attention to the defensive side of the ball.

    How the Cowboys' performs in 2017 will go a long way with determining the amount of success they will have. That is why nearly all eyes will be on nearly every single defensive player in training camp and how they perform once the pads come on. This is especially true for incoming rookies who might be playing a large role on defense.

    Continue reading to see my roster predictions for the in 2017.

    Defensive End (5)

    , , Charles Tapper, ,

    Benson Mayowa
    Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    The Dallas Cowboys are fortunate enough to have some versatility in their , which means there are a number of different ways they can go about addressing the position. I decided to go with five DEs right now, especially considering Lawrence and Mayowa are really the only players that have proven themselves in the NFL.

    I think second year DE Charles Tapper and rookie Taco Charlton are locks to make the team, but it's been journeyman Damontre Moore who has been the talk of the . If he can continue to impress, he is the fifth DE and possible starter in 2017. Of course, the numbers the Cowboys decide to go with at this position could be impacted by what they do at defensive .

    Defensive Tackle (5)

    , , Tyrone Crawford, ,

    Maliek CollinsLike the defensive end position, I think the Cowboys go with five defensive tackles on their final 53-man roster in 2017. I think Tyrone Crawford moves back to DT, which is probably his better position. Both he and Maliek Collins will likely be in a rotation at the 3-tech, but the 1-tech seems to be up for grabs still.

    Cedric Thornton and Stephen Paea are in competition against one another to be the starting 1-tech, but with the way Marinelli rotates his defensive line it doesn't really matter who is named starter. Surprisingly enough, I went ahead and put David Irving down as my fifth DT, even though he is facing a suspension. There are rumors though that he could possibly get it overturned.

    Linebacker (6)

    , , Damien Wilson, Jaylon Smith, Kyle Wilber,

    Sean Lee and Jaylon SmithThe Dallas Cowboys carried seven linebackers on their 53-man roster in 2016, and could do so once again this season. This is especially true if Jaylon Smith shows any signs of struggling once the pads come on in training camp. But, right now I have them only carrying six LBs.

    I think Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and Damien Wilson will likely be the starters when the kicks off. However, the Cowboys will likely try to get a rotation going with Smith if he is indeed ready. The rest of the LBs are needed for depth and let's not forget fullback Keith Smith could be used at LB in an emergency situation.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the scouting department looks long and hard around the league for depth/upgrades at the position. maybe?

    Cornerback (6)

    , , , , Jourdan Lewis,

    Anthony BrownThe cornerback position is probably the one position that will be watched the closest throughout training camp, because it is the one that has probably been overhauled the most. Because of the influx of youth and the uncertainty at the position, I decided to go with six . I did this because I think Chidobe Awuzie could be used in a variety of different positions, which means depth could be important at the position throughout the season.

    I think Scandrick and Brown are the likely starters, with Carroll and rookie Awuzie competing for the other starting CB position. But, Awuzie could possibly be in play at safety as well. Of course, nothing is written in ink as of yet, which means Lewis could possibly give Scandrick a run for his money to be the Cowboys slot CB.

    Safety (4)

    Byron Jones, , ,

    Jeff HeathI personally don't think the Dallas Cowboys will carry more than four safeties on their final 53-man roster in 2017. I think Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, and Xavier Woods and pretty much already solidified themselves a roster spot, but that could change once pads come on in training camp.

    I know the Cowboys signed Robert Blanton this off-season, but I think that had more to do with making sure they were covered in case they didn't draft a safety. I have a hard time seeing him outplaying some of these young players, but he will get his chance. And again, Chidobe Awuzie could be in play at safety as well, further making Blanton's chances to make the team a long shot.

    ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, there you have it. That completes my Dallas Cowboys pre-training camp 53-man roster prediction for 2017. I have them devoting 26 roster spots on defense, 24 on offense, and three to the specialist. It's doubtful the Cowboys 53-man roster will look exactly like my prediction, but this is just the way I would personally go.

    Let me know what you would do differently in the comment section below

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    Brian Martin
    Brian Martin
    Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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    I'm Okay w La'el @ RT

    I haven’t heard a lot about how White looked @ safety in OTA & Mini-camp. Any info on him?

    Brian Martin

    I assume you’re talking about either the Cowboys rookie CB White or their rookie S Woods. I’m not sure which. There hasn’t been much news about either one, which could be a good or bad thing. I think we’re just going to have to wait until training camp to see how everybody performs once the pads come on.

    Assassin

    I noticed you’re not expecting the DTs from bottom of the draft class to make the cut:

    Round 7, Pick 10 (No. 228) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
    Round 7, Pick 28 (No. 246) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado

    Rd 7 is always a crapshoot. Any hope for these two?

    Brian Martin

    I think their best bet to make the 53-man roster is if David Irving is suspended to start the year. Otherwise, I have a hard time seeing them beat out any of the other Cowboys DTs. I think stashing one, possibly both of these rookie DTs on the practice squad is the most likely scenario.