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Final Dallas Cowboys 53-man Roster Prediction: Defensive Edition

Predicting Cowboys’ defensive players who make the final 53-man roster.

Today we continue to try to predict the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster for the 2020 season focusing on the defensive side of the ball. Yesterday I shared with you the 23 offensive players I believe make it through the final cuts and now we turn our attention to the opposite side of the ball. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Defensive Tackle (4)

Dontari Poe, Antwaun Woods, Trysten Hill, Neville Gallimore

Losing Gerald McCoy for the season is without a doubt a big blow to the Dallas Cowboys DT position. Fortunately, they still have some solid depth at both the 1 and 3-tech positions. Poe will take over as the starter at the 1-tech with Woods as his primary backup. Hill and Gallimore will likely battle it out to become the starting 3-tech, however, Tyrone Crawford could fit into the equation as well.

Defensive End (8)

DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen, Tyrone Crawford, Aldon Smith, Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, Bradlee Anae (R), Ron’Dell Carter (R)

I think the Cowboys may go a little deeper than usual at the DE position after McCoy’s season-ending injury. Lawrence and Griffen are no doubt the starters with Armstrong and A. Smith as their primary backups. Crawford and even Joe Jackson provide DT/DE position flex and for now I have Anae and Carter sticking around for depth purposes.

Linebacker (6)

Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Luke Gifford, Francis Bernard (R)

Smith and LVE will once again give the Cowboys defense a formidable LB duo and Lee and Thomas provide invaluable starting caliber depth. Both Gifford and Bernard are talented enough to stick around to develop, but in the meantime their value lies in what they can do on special teams.

Cornerback (6)

Chidobe Awuzie, Daryl Worley, Trevon Diggs (R), Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Reggie Robinson (R)

I don’t think there’s any surprises here at CB. I believe Awuzie and Worley start the season on the outside with Brown playing in the nickel. Diggs and Robinson could be the future of the position, but will likely be brought along slowly before being thrust into action. Lewis provides invaluable depth due to his ability to play on the outside or in the slot.

Safety (3)

Xavier Woods, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Donovan Wilson

I think the Dallas Cowboys could go a little thin at the safety position this year. Woods and Clinton-Dix are expected to start, but Wilson could very well be in the mix as well. CBs like Awuzie, Worley, and maybe even Robinson will likely be cross trained for depth purposes.

Special Teams (3)

L.P. Ladouceur, Chris Jones, Greg Zuerlein

Not much has change here except the addition of Greg Zuerlein, who seems to be a favorite of Cowboys’ new Special Teams Coach John Fassel. Neither Ladouceur or Jones seem to have any competition at the moment, despite the fact the latter is coming off one of his worst seasons in the NFL.

How do you think the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster will look?

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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  1. Not sure how comfortable I am with just the 3 safeties, or the idea that you spend time cross-training your starting CB? I get that you suspect Diggs will eventually supplant Worley as a starter (or maybe even Awuzie?), but while they are starting, you don’t cross-train them. I think Thompson has played well in limited opportunities and may elect to keep him over that 8th DE.

    As much as I love Lewis’ game, I’m beginning to think he very well could up as the CB4 as well. And if Westry provides any glimpse of his potential in camp, could even force the staff to deal Lewis or somebody.

    • I disagree on lewis. Just because Anthony brown received a contract extension shouldn’t automatically pencil him at the slot DB. I don’t know the numbers exactly but if I were a betting man lewis’ tackles, sacks, TFL, and interception numbers are better than brown with less playing time. I will admit lewis can get too aggressive at times and make mistakes where as brown seems more conservative. But overall explosiveness and just instinctive play Lewis wins hands down in my book.
      He’s been looked over so much because he’s not 6 ft.
      Hell he had one less sack than the 100million dollar man tank last year and more interceptions last season than Byron jones had in 5 years! Lol

      • I agree with you Hoss … 100! But I’m beginning to come to grips with the fact that size and length matters (we’ve heard that before!)… it just does. And I base this change on one premise which may or may not work out. It’s been said that the previous regime did not teach these guys to turn their heads (or at least not put them into the position where its not the primary need). If that’s true and the new staff is indeed teaching these guys to play facing the QB (which has also been reported), then it stands to reason that all of these guys may become better (and more natural) playmakers. So if (and its a big if, right now) these guys all start making intercepotions, then Lewis loses his edge to some degree. And now if all things are equal … size is a far more legimate consideration.

        Again, I’m not pulling for removal of Lewis, and didn’t intend it to be read that way … just stating that I am beginning to understand the climb he faces.

      • I agree with you 100%!! Right now I believe Jourdan Lewis is the 2nd best corner on the team right behind Chido!! When Diggs gets NFL ready Lewis will drop to the 3rd best corner, but until then I think he’s the 2nd best corner on the team!! The only way things go the way Brian said is if these coaches are like the last one’s and favor the taller corners

  2. I see Crawford as more of a DT at this point career. (Where he is needed more anyway). I always thought that was his best position anyway. DE requires more burst/athleticism something Crawford lacks especially coming off a serious injury. Although he certainly has the versatility to play DE in a pinch. I tend to agree about Lewis starting (at the slot) Think he has shown enuf to get nod over Brown. I think Brown best position is slot as well, but see him being more versatile then the diminutive Lewis, whose lack of size is a detriment playing the outside. DE J Jackson could be let go and team could add another safety who has shown special t skills, cuz god knows that group can use all the help it can get. Lastly am I the only one worried that punter C Jones and kicker G Zuerline are coming off the worst yrs of their career. We were 0-6 games decided by 7 pts or less. How many of those would have been Ws had we not had the worst special teams in the league.

    • Personally for me P-Jones is the bigger concern, and its definitely a legit one. But that said, I think this special teams unit can be fixed aside from either of them. I’m not a special teams scholar, nor do I know of the formation nuancing, etc but it appears to my eyes that the biggest problems (outside of Jones) are coaching related. For starters I’ve always adopted the mindset of the early 90’s Cowboys where starters can/should play special teams, especially nowadays where the KO unit is essentially removed. I don’t partake in the thought, for example, of getting a #4 safety to play special teams. Rather get a #4 safety who can push for the #2 safety spot … and they should all be considered for special teams. I want to see our special teams units made up of at least 60%-70% starting players, and yes I get the injury concerns.

      As for Jones, if he doesn’t show himself to be right immediately in camp, they’ll need to act fast. So I’ll be looking for them to acquire a punter, else if the opt not to, then I’ll be comfortable that Fassel is liking what he is seeing.

      Zuerlein gets a flyer from me, particularly because Fassel (again!) must have signed off on him.

  3. Remember the practice squad option as well for some of these players. Roster decisions and how they utilize the prac squad has never been more important.

  4. No doubt we lost the field pos battle nearly every game, partly due to weak punting. Agree kick returning/ kick cov is correctable thru good coaching. Fassel should correct that, cuz those 2 areas also cost us big time field pos wise. Solid point regarding starters playing more ST but yea taking a BIG risk there. Would be interested in stats showing correlation between top ST coverage teams and % starters they used. I’ll sign off on Zuerlein for the same reason, though l would watch that closely, as kickers are notoriously fickle and can lose confidence seemingly overnite. Remember the 0-6 record in close games.

    • Greg Zuerlein will be fine…. Yes, he did have the worst season of his career last season, but he also played injured through most of the season too!! I think that was the problem for him!! And Chris Jones was injured most of last season too, but I’m not as confident in him getting back to normal…. He’s been declining for a couple years now, but if Fassel believes in him then I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt!! We’ll just have to wait and see!!

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