We’re more than a week and a half into training camp at this point and there have been several standout performers. Though there is a long way to go in determining the final 53-man roster, several players have begun to separate themselves from the competition at certain positions. By the time the August 31 deadline to be at 53 rolls around, the Cowboys will have a pretty clear picture of who they want on their roster, though like seasons past, there may be some surprises.
With that, let’s dig into your mailbag questions.
Following training camp it seems Austin, JVJ, Guyton, have all looked good, what’s your personal ideal WR core going into the season? 5 or 6 spots? & who makes it?
— mike crum (@cdpiglet) August 4, 2019
The wide receiver battle is an interesting one because there have been some really nice performances from players further down the depth chart. A lot of the conventional thinking believes that only the top three guys — Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup — are locks to make the roster. I’d throw in Tavon Austin, though I may be in the minority here.
Austin has an edge because of his explosiveness and his ability to be an asset in the return game. His ability to flip the field on punts is something the Dallas Cowboys don’t have anywhere else on the roster currently. Sure, Tony Pollard was a dynamic kick returner in college, but he has little to no experience returning punts, which is a totally different job. The Cowboys coaching staff generally goes with someone they can trust as the punt returner. That’s why we saw Cole Beasley back there a lot, though he didn’t really offer much in the way of a return threat. Stephen Jones even made a point to include Tavon Austin when talking about the top of the wide receiver group when he talked about the top four guys all being new since just before the 2018 NFL Draft. They clearly like the guy and he’s been productive in training camp. And unlike Allen Hurns, Austin’s contract doesn’t sit heavily on the salary cap.
As far as the rest of the depth chart goes, I figure you’ve got Jon’vea Johnson, Reggie Davis, Jalen Guyton, Cedric Wilson, and Noah Brown competing for two more spots.
The favorites at this point have to be Jon’vea Johnson and Noah Brown. Jon’vea Johnson has been probably the down roster guy who has impressed the most. He even earned some run with the first team during the annual Blue-White scrimmage held on Sunday. Johnson has the speed to be a downfield threat and seems to have a nice rapport with Dak Prescott, who’s been unafraid to target him in practice.
While I think Noah Brown has a shot to be that sixth wide receiver, and I think they carry six wide receivers, he’ll need to start practicing at some point to secure his place on the roster. He has a valuable ability to the Dallas Cowboys running game and they like versatile players. They need to plan on using him in the passing game more though if they want him to be as effective in the running game. When Brown has been brought into the game teams have been able to sit on the run. In order to keep defenses off-balance, they need to throw more with Brown in the game in 2019.
Reggie Davis, Cedric Wilson, and Jalen Guyton all bring something to the table that the Cowboys like and I think there’s a chance each of these guys could force Brown or even Tavon Austin off the roster.
The battle at the back end of the wide receiver group will continue to be one of the best to watch when the preseason games start.
On this episode of Inside The Cowboys, John Williams, from InsideTheStar.com, is joined by Cowboys Cast host Bobby Belt after his week in Oxnard, California covering Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.
Mike Jackson or olumba?? Sorry if I misspelled names lol
— Raymond (@collazo530king) August 4, 2019
You got the names right my man.
The cornerback group is pretty well settled out with the top four guys, just like at wide receiver. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis will all get playing time for the Dallas Cowboys when the pads come on for real against the New York Giants week one. That fifth cornerback spot is one question and the other question is do they keep six?
At the moment, I’d give the edge at cornerback to Rookie Mike Jackson. There’s a lot of training camp and the preseason left to go, but he’s stood out in the short time they’ve been at camp and has had some really solid reps against guys like Randall Cobb in the one on one drills. Those drills are almost impossible for the cornerback to win because they have to play the whole field and can’t count on the linebackers or safeties for help.
Jackson brings the requisite size that Kris Richard really likes and he’s been talked about as a guy that could help you on the outside and in the slot. I think they’ve got high hopes for him and he’s shown in his short stint with a Dallas Cowboys that he’s got a knack for making plays on the football.
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Training camp will continue to give us more information as these position battles continue to unfold. There’s a little more than a month left until the beginning of the regular season and some of these position battles will continue to evolve.
Thanks for this week’s questions and remember, if you ever have a question you’d like to see featured here, leave it in the comment section or send it to John on Twitter using the hashtag #CowboysNationMailbag.
As always, thanks for your questions.