We have arrived at the final piece in the five part series predicting the Cowboys' 2023 53-man roster.
If you missed the first four parts, utilize the following links.
For quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers click here. To see tight ends and offensive line click here. For defensive line click here. To read about linebackers and safeties click here.
In the finale of this way-too-early roster prediction series, 43 roster spots are spoken for, and there are 10 roster spots still up for grabs.
The only positions left to fill are cornerbacks and special teams. Let's dive in.
During the 2021 season, Trevon Diggs established himself as one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL.
He recorded 11 interceptions on the season. A feat that had not been accomplished since former Dallas Cowboy Everson Walls also recorded 11 in 1981.
In 2022, Diggs received the star cornerback treatment from opposing quarterbacks, and was targeted 17.4% less than his record setting 2021 campaign.
With fewer opportunities to take the ball away, Diggs notched only three interceptions, but essentially shut down half of the field.
Expect Diggs to take every opportunity to improve even more in a contract year.
The newest addition to the secondary, Stephon Gilmore was acquired in an offseason trade with the Indianapolis Colts.
Gilly brings Super Bowl experience, veteran savvy, and shutdown ability to a cornerback room that only has one other player over the age of 24.
Even at age 32, Gilmore is still a force to be reckoned with.
Lined up opposite a young playmaker like Diggs, opposing quarterbacks will have to pick their poison.
Diggs Island or Gilly Lock?
Rookie 5th round pick DaRon Bland had a strong training camp that carried over into the regular season.
The Cowboys' coaching staff trusted the young Fresno State product enough to not only make the original 53 man roster, but to play in all 17 games.
Bland parlayed that trust into 52% of the defensive snaps, and led all NFL rookies with five interceptions.
While most of his snaps were out of the slot, he was given a chance in the second half of the season to start opposite Trevon Diggs.
He impressed there as well.
Look for Bland to build on his rookie season success, and likely be Dan Quinn's number one option to cover opposing slot wide receivers.
The 2022 season was cut unexpectedly short for Jourdan Lewis after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in a Week 7 matchup vs the Detroit Lions.
J-Lew broke perfectly on a route, recording his first and only interception of the season while also dooming himself to injured reserve on the same play.
Lewis might be fourth on the Cowboys' depth chart, but he could easily start for several teams in the NFL.
Should they decide to, the Cowboys would save $4.39 million against the salary cap by outright releasing him in the final year of his contract.
Lewis's health will be the determining factor in that decision.
Eric Scott Jr.
The Dallas Cowboys traded up to the first pick in the sixth round to select Eric Scott Jr., cornerback from Southern Mississippi.
Will McClay & Co. are not giving up draft capital in that manner for the player to be left off of the roster.
Dan Quinn has already shown us that he can take a late round cornerback with traits he desires, and prepare them for the rigors of the NFL game (see DaRon Bland above).
Scott will have a role in the defense, and it may be sooner than later.
You don't have to be a Cowboys fan to know that Kelvin Joseph has been a disappointment since being drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Bossman Fat has been better at rapping than he has been at covering wide receivers, and that's not exactly a compliment.
Easing into the NFL as a rookie is understandable, but the coaching staff did not see strides made after year one.
Due to this mistrust, his defensive snap percentage dropped from 24% to 15%.
He is not even considered for this roster if not for his resurgence on the special teams unit.
Barring a meteoric rise, that unit is where he will again make the most impact.
Speaking of special teams, CJ Goodwin comes in as the 50th player on the roster.
Goodwin has been the special teams ace for Dallas since arriving in 2018, and Special Teams Coach John Fassel is ecstatic to pair him as a gunner across from Kelvin Joseph.
The pair rewarded the Cowboys with one of the best punt and kickoff coverage units in the NFL.
Keeping that tandem together is likely high on Coach Fassel's wish list.
Just outside of the bubble: Nahshon Wright
Despite already being in the league for 11 years, Bryan Anger remains one of the best punters in the NFL.
The 2022 season was his second with Dallas, and he accomplished career highs in nearly every punting metric recorded.
Another All-Pro season could be in store for Anger.
Trent Sieg has yet to play a down for Dallas, signing as a free agent after the departure of previous Long Snapper Jake McQuaide.
The Cowboys kicking situation is currently up in the air.
Brett Maher shanked four straight extra point attempts in the playoff win against Tampa Bay.
I don't imagine he would be invited back to the team.
Dallas will explore the free agent market after failing to select a kicker in the draft.