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Cowboys Training Camp Starts With 17 Players On The Bubble

About a week ago, I attempted to project the Dallas Cowboys 53 man roster before the team even had one day of training camp practice. Although these projections are entertaining, they’re not very factual. That’s because there’s really no way to predict what the coaching staff is thinking, or how individual players will perform during these practices.

All of the Staff Writers here at Inside The Star try our best to provide our readers with the best news and analysis possible in relation to the Dallas Cowboys. One of the ways we do that is to bounce ideas off of one another to try to come up with new or different information that hasn’t been written about over and over again by anybody else covering America’s Team.

RJ Ochoa – a fellow Staff Writer – and I had one such conversation. That conversation led to the basic idea of this article.

RJ thought it was a good idea to approach the Cowboys’ looming roster decisions in a different way, suggesting we take a look at what we believe to be the players that have already secured their roster spots. Then, we determine just how many spots might still be up for grabs.

Well, I took the idea and ran with it.

Based on my findings, there are 36 roster spots that should be locked down and, if my math is correct, that leaves just 17 spots remaining for the organization to fill out their final 53 man roster.

It’s unlikely that you will completely agree with me, but here is how I see the secured portion of the roster at this time:

Cowboys Offense (14)

Quarterback: Tony Romo, Dak Prescott Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott Wide Receiver: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley Tight End: Jason Witten, James Hanna Offensive Line: Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Ronald Leary

Analysis:
First off, you may have noticed that I didn’t include the hopeful backup QB to Tony Romo. I still believe that Kellen Moore is still fighting to secure that backup role, thus his roster spot isn’t secure.

I have high expectations for Kellen, but I would like to see him handle that responsibility a little more in training camp and preseason before anointing him the #2 QB.

It’s probably no surprise that Ezekiel Elliott is the only secured RB for the Cowboys. Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Darius Jackson are all competing for backup roles. Someone will have to set themselves apart at some point.

The tight end position is pretty obvious also. Jason Witten is hands-down one of the best to ever play the position, and James Hanna just signed a contract extension. It’s still up in the air who will be backing those two players up in 2016.

The offensive line is probably the most secured position on the entire team. It’s made up of three Pro Bowl players and I wouldn’t be surprised if La’el Collins becomes the fourth.

Cowboys Defense (19)

Linebacker: Sean Lee, Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Jaylon Smith Cornerback: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick Safety: Byron Jones, Jeff Heath Defensive Line: Randy Gregory, Demarcus Lawrence, Charles Tapper, Benson Mayowa, Ryan Russell, Jack Crawford, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thorton, Maliek Collins

Analysis:
I was surprised at a few of the players I decided to leave off of the defense, and I’m sure you are too.

Barry Church might just be the biggest surprise. He’s considered a sure thing to start at the strong safety position next to Byron Jones. But the fact that the Cowboys tried to upgrade the safety position in the off-season left me with doubts.

Church is entering the last year of his contract and, although he’s been steady, he still leaves you wanting more. Maybe rookie Kavon Frazier or Jeff Heath can make a push for that starting role.

Speaking of Jeff Heath, he is a roster lock due to his newly signed contract.

I thought that the defensive line was pretty obvious, especially considering the Cowboys will probably have to go a little deeper there than they might like because of the suspensions to DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.

The linebacker position was a little more difficult, but not much. It may have shocked you to see Kyle Wilber’s name, but he also signed a contract extension and is valued for his special-teams work. Jaylon Smith may redshirt his rookie season, but his potential once he is fully recovered secures his spot.

Cowboys Specialists (3)

Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. LaDouceur

Analysis:
Any surprises here? No, I didn’t think so. This group could be chiseled in stone.

In conclusion…

With 36 roster spots spoken for, that leaves a lot of players vying for those final 17 spots on the 2016 Dallas Cowboys roster. These remaining players will have to establish themselves in training camp and convince the coaching staff that they’re worthy of claiming one of these valued roster spots.

Training camp and preseason games are most important for these players on the bubble, and you can bet they’ll be fighting and scratching their way to catch the attention of the coaches.

This may be just a game for the majority of us, but it is their livelihood.

Do you agree with my assessment of the roster?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to voice your thoughts and opinions. I look forward to hearing you so that we can discuss this topic further.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by 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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