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Cowboys Pre-Training Camp 53-Man Roster Prediction

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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.



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 @ConnorNFLDraft!

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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