Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Pre-Training Camp 53-Man Roster Prediction

Published

on

Tyron Smith, Byron Jones
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

11 days. 264 hours. 950,400 seconds. That’s how long we have to wait until the 2017 Dallas Cowboys begin the first practice of training camp in Oxnard, California. There will be a field full of players, and a staff full of coaches participating in all practices from July 25th to August 17th. But the one question everyone has on their mind right now is, “What will that 53-man roster look like?”

Today, I’m giving you my version of the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster.

Dak Prescott, Kellen Moore, Wade Wilson

Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore, and Dak Prescott with QB Coach Wade Wilson. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Quarterbacks (2)

  1. Dak Prescott
  2. Kellen Moore

Running Backs (4)

  1. Ezekiel Elliott
  2. Darren McFadden
  3. Alfred Morris
  4. Keith Smith

Wide Receivers (6)

  1. Dez Bryant
  2. Terrance Williams
  3. Cole Beasley
  4. Ryan Switzer
  5. Brice Butler
  6. Noah Brown

Rico Gathers

Tight Ends (4)

  1. Jason Witten
  2. Geoff Swaim
  3. James Hanna
  4. Rico Gathers

Offensive Lineman (8)

  1. Tyron Smith – LT
  2. La’el Collins – RT
  3. Zack Martin – RG
  4. Travis Frederick – C
  5. Jonathan Cooper – LG
  6. Chaz Green – T/G
  7. Joe Looney – G/C
  8. Emmett Cleary T/G

Defensive Lineman (10)

  1. Taco Charlton – DE
  2. DeMarcus Lawrence – DE
  3. Damontre Moore – DE
  4. Benson Mayowa – DE
  5. Charles Tapper – DE
  6. Tyrone Crawford – DE/DT
  7. Maliek Collins – DT
  8. Cedric Thornton – DT
  9. Stephen Paea – DT
  10. Joey Ivie – DT

Linebackers (6)

  1. Sean Lee
  2. Anthony Hitchens
  3. Jaylon Smith
  4. Mark Nzeocha
  5. Kyle Wilber
  6. John Lotulelei

Cornerbacks (6)

  1. Anthony Brown
  2. Chidobe Awuzie
  3. Orlando Scandrick
  4. Nolan Carroll
  5. Jourdan Lewis
  6. Marquez White

Byron Jones

Safeties (4)

  1. Byron Jones
  2. Jeff Heath
  3. Xavier Woods
  4. Kavon Frazier

Specialists (3)

  1. Dan Bailey
  2. Chris Jones
  3. L.P. Ladouceur

Notable Names Missing

David Irving

Obviously, we all should know by now that David Irving is going to be suspended the first four games of the season due to a failed drug test (PEDs). Fortunately for the Cowboys, he will not count against the roster during that time and will not be paid while he serves his suspension.

Another likely starter missing from this list is Damien Wilson. Again, it should be no secret why either. Wilson was recently arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and is facing prison time if convicted. While we haven’t heard much about the situation, it’s hard to believe Damien Wilson has much of a future left with the team after such a promising two years.

Byron Bell is another name some people may be curious about. Bell was a tough decision for me due to his ability to play both guard and tackle, but that offensive line is crowded and almost all the players in the room are familiar faces, except Bell. Initially, I had Bell on and Emmett Cleary off, but the coaching staff seemed to like Cleary when he saw the field some last year. Both players will compete for one of the last few roster spots in camp, but currently I have Cleary making the cut just ahead of Byron Bell.

It was no question even before the draft that Lucky Whitehead’s roster spot wasn’t safe, it became even clearer when they selected Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Whitehead has made a few big plays for the Cowboys as a returner in his three years with the team. He has also made a few bad decisions — off and on the field — that have killed some drives, even some games. With Switzer’s ability to add value to the offense and an upgrade on special teams it seems that Lucky’s days are numbered in Dallas.

Notable New Faces

Could Noah Brown Have A Big Role As A Rookie?

In an already crowded cornerback room, Marquez White squeezed his way onto my 53. White is likely a game-day inactive, but trying to get him to the practice squad seems a little too risky for me. I would personally trust White to step in and play if needed. White has some learning to do but has a high ceiling and had impressive film at Florida State.

Noah Brown is another rookie selection. Brown is a big bodied receiver who wins with his physicality. Brown is another guy who is way too risky to try to sneak onto the practice squad, plus injuries haven’t treated the Cowboys’ receivers too friendly over the last few years. It will likely come down to either Noah Brown or Andy Jones for the final receiver spot, but Brown’s traits and ability to play as an outside receiver make him more likely to win the spot.

Without the suspension or release of Damien Wilson, John Lotulelei likely isn’t making the team, but with a spot open and how much noise Lotulelei has made in OTAs and mini camp, he’s won me over. While he doesn’t play the position that Wilson played, he is a veteran player who has experience playing multiple linebacker spots who can add depth to both defense and special teams.

Joey Ivie was another guy who I went back and forth on. With Irving’s suspension, backup at the three-technique will be limited to just Tyrone Crawford with him also helping out at defensive end. Ivie is a guy who will shine in training camp and preseason. Joey Ivie is perfect insurance while we wait for Irving to make his return.

The one new guy who could potentially be the biggest difference maker is Jaylon Smith. Jaylon Smith isn’t new to the team, but he would be new to the 53-man roster. Smith’s availability is still up in the air to start the season, but I have him healthy enough to start the regular season on the roster and contribute enough to warrant that spot. Training camp will tell us how far along Jaylon Smith is, something all of Cowboys Nation has been foaming at the mouth over since last April.

ADVERTISEMENT

Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @connorx147 !

Player News

Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sean's Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

The Cowboys have just one more game to get through without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Alfred Morris and Rod Smith deserve a ton of credit for the way they’ve been able to fill in out of the backfield for Zeke Elliott. Throughout the time Elliott has missed though, the Cowboys have lacked the explosive plays on offense that he can provide – until Rod Smith was given an opportunity last week at the Giants.

Smith complimented Morris exceptionally well, running with quickness and power to prove his case for more of a role on offense behind Elliott moving forward. It was the Ohio State product’s consecutive touchdowns of 81 yards through the air and 15 yards on the ground that sealed the game for the Cowboys in week 14.

Here is a closer look at Rod Smith’s performance from last week in this latest Sean’s Scout.

Smith3 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

The Cowboys offensive line was dominant as always against a tough New York defensive front, and this first play is a great look at their execution in space and on the move. Rod Smith’s decisiveness when hitting the hole with speed and balance was the first thing I noticed on the game tape.

The best thing Smith does on this play comes at the second level, where running backs can truly make a difference in Dallas. As RG Zack Martin rides his man out of the play entirely, he gets in front of Smith who is seeing the play develop straight ahead. With his long strides, Smith is able to smoothly get through traffic and continue accelerating up field through arm tackles for a big gain.

Smith2 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

These same traits are seen with Rod Smith as a pass catcher – something he does effortlessly to also help fill the void left by Elliott. Watch how quickly Smith commits to his angle up the field after catching this dump pass from Dak Prescott, attacking a defender that has the angle on him after the catch.

Rod subtly leans to the right just enough to make the defender hesitate long enough to allow his burst to evade him and gain extra yards falling forward.

Smith4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

Smith essentially does the same thing without the ball in his hands here, on his 81 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Setting up the safety out of the slot to be beat across his face, Smith separates from him at the stem and then does a great job getting depth on his route into the vacated middle of the field. With blockers to help him reach the end zone, Smith turns this busted coverage by the Giants into the game’s biggest play.

Smith1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

This last play I chose to show is probably the least well-blocked attempt for Smith out of the ones in this Sean’s Scout, but there is still a lot to like about what Rod does here with the ball in his hands.

The Giants might be a two-win football team, but they still have marquee players up front, particularly DE Olivier Vernon. Smith does well here to keep his feet moving as he cuts this play to the backside. Vernon does well to limit the potential gain on this play by staying away from the block of Jason Witten, as Smith is taken down by Darian Thompson.

The numbers the Giants had to commit to stopping the run was still a huge reason why Prescott had a career day throwing the football, and Rod Smith’s readiness to step in at RB was a deciding factor in getting Dallas to 7-6.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Proving to be one of the Dallas Cowboys most valuable players, considering his cost (under contract through 2018), and ability to contribute on special teams and offense, Rod Smith is the perfect RB3 for this team.

Smith is not elite in any one area, and is not a prototypical RB from a physical standpoint, but his contributions as a runner, pass catcher, and blocker could remain critical to the Cowboys’ hopes of reaching the playoffs behind this offense – even when Ezekiel Elliott is back in the fold.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Rod Smith Vs Alfred Morris: Who’s The Cowboys Real RB1?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Rod Smith Vs Alfred Morris: Who's Cowboys' Real RB1?

The Dallas Cowboys are less than a week away from welcoming back their talented Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, but until then they still have a game to play against the Oakland Raiders. That means we will have one more week of Alfred Morris and Rod Smith handling the workload, but which RB is sitting at the top of the Cowboys depth chart?

Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of decision that can end up winning or losing a game. Both Alfred Morris and Rod Smith have had their moments during Ezekiel Elliott’s absence, but neither one of them have really distanced themselves from the other. So, should Rod Smith or Alfred Morris receive the majority of the workload against the Raiders Sunday?

A Case for Rod Smith

RB Rod Smith and QB Dak PrescottRod Smith might just have had is coming out party last week against the New York Giants. Against their divisional rival, in what was a must win game for the Cowboys, Smith rushed for 47 yards on six carries and added another 113 yards through the air on five catches. He also found himself in the end zone twice, once on a rushing touchdown and the other on a receiving touchdown.

You may or may not agree, but I believe that “Lightning” Rod Smith was largely responsible for igniting the Cowboys offense and helping them pull away from the Giants last Sunday. He accounted for over 160 total yards and two touchdowns by himself and didn’t receive the majority of his playing time until later in the game.

Rod Smith certainly has traits that make him a more desirable RB over Alfred Morris. First off, he is a more complete back. He is better in pass protection and at catching the ball out of the backfield. But, he is also starting to show up in the running game and is averaging 4.5 yards a carry this season. His size (6’3″, 235) also makes him a better short yardage back, although I wish he would deliver more of a blow at the end of his runs.

A Case for Alfred Morris

RB Alfred MorrisAlthough there’s nothing particularly special that stands out about Alfred Morris, he has proven time and time again he is more than capable of carrying the workload. He has received the majority of the workload during Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and has performed pretty well. In fact, he is averaging 5 yards a carry this season, which is better than any other RB on the Cowboys roster, including Elliott.

Alfred Morris has looked pretty good this season and is playing with more of a spring in his step than I have seen from him in probably his entire career. Last Sunday against the Giants he received the the majority of the workload and finished the game with 19 carries for 62 yards. Not particularly spectacular, but the week prior he did rush for 127 yards on 27 carries in the victory over the Washington Redskins.

Like I mentioned earlier, Morris is a tried-and-true RB in the NFL and is at his best when he can continue to pound the rock and wear down opposing defenses. That is what he did against the Redskins, but he has his limitations as well. Despite his years in the league, he still struggles in pass protection and is limited in what he can do in the passing game. But, he does seem to have the trust of the Cowboys coaching staff.

✭✭✭✭✭

Personally, I would like to see more of Rod Smith this coming Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. I really like what I’ve seen from him in both the running game and in the passing game. I just think he is a more dangerous and versatile weapon then Alfred Morris. His presence on the field really opens up what the Cowboys can do offensively.

I don’t mean any disrespect to Alfred Morris at all. I just think that Rod Smith has proven he is a more dangerous offensive weapon of the two. I don’t know if the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff will agree or not, but I truly believe Rod Smith could once again be the X factor against the Oakland Raiders.

Of course, both Rod Smith and Alfred Morris will have to take the back seat once Ezekiel Elliott returns. So, this discussion really only has any credibility for this week in yet another must win situation against the Oakland Raiders.

Who do you like better… Rod Smith or Alfred Morris?

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Player News

La’el Collins’ Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Brian Martin

Published

on

La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise 1

The decision by the Dallas Cowboys to move La’el Collins from left guard to right tackle was met by some skepticism by quite a few members of Cowboys Nation during the off-season. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of those skeptical of the move, but I’m not afraid to admit he has exceeded my expectations.

In all honesty, I always believed that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is on the interior of the offense of line as a guard. I thought he could use his strength and athleticism to his advantage when working in a phone booth against slower and less athletic defensive tackles. That’s not to say I didn’t think he would make a good right tackle, I just thought he had Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

Strangely enough, Collins has probably put together a Pro Bowl caliber season in his first season starting at the right tackle position for the Cowboys. He has become an upgrade over the previous starter Doug Free, and is really starting to earn high praise from the brass. Stephen Jones in particular has been impressed with Collins, especially considering how he has played after missing two full weeks of practice.

Mark Lane on Twitter

DallasCowboys COO Stephen Jones told @1053thefan La’el Collins has answered the bell after his contract extension.

I personally agree with everything Stephen Jones said about La’el Collins. I’ve really enjoyed watching his progression this season, but I have been really impressed how he played the last two weeks after missing so much practice.

You might not of known, but Collins has missed two full weeks of practice due to a herniated disc in his back. This is put his availability to play against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in jeopardy, but somehow he has toughened up and played considerably well.

This unfortunately will be something he has to continue to battle through the rest of the season, but I’m not going to bet against him playing. He absolutely makes this offensive line better and I would hate to see Chaz Green or Byron Bell back on the field after the way they played as feel-ins.

La’el Collins has without a doubt earned my respect and I think it’s about time we all recognize the player he is turning into. I know the Dallas Cowboys appreciate all that he does and believe that his recent contract extension is money well spent.

What do you think about La’el Collins?

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Advertisement
Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending