Although the Dallas Cowboys already have their initial 53-man roster, a lot of moves will follow over the next few days before the team is set. Even still, we have a good idea of how things will look like with about a week to go before they kick off the season against the Los Angeles Rams.
Here are a handful of notes from the NFL cutdown day regarding the Cowboys.
La'el Collins, Sean Lee headed to Injured Reserve
Although we knew La'el Collins wasn't completely healthy during camp, it was a surprise to learn the Cowboys intended to send him to Injured Reserve to start the season. Collins has missed only one game in the past three years and will now at least miss three in 2020. Cam Erving is expected to take his place to protect Dak Prescott while Brandon Knight becomes the team's swing tackle.
Remember, this year the IR rules are different and state players need to the on IR for only three weeks instead of the regular eight. Also, teams can return an unlimited number of players placed on IR.
Veteran linebacker Sean Lee will also be placed on IR although it doesn't come as a big surprise since reports on the possibility had already emerged. Fortunately for Dallas, Lee was expected to be mainly a backup of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith with the Cowboys playing out of nickel defense.
- Francis Bernard: The undrafted rookie out Utah made a ton of noise with a strong camp. Many thought he had done enough to earn a roster spot, but that wasn't the case. However, when Lee's sent to IR, it's not that hard to imagine Bernard making the roster if he clears waivers.
- Justin March: Given his contributions to special teams and the fact that Bernard didn't make it either, I expected March to be one of the 53 Cowboys to be on the roster. However, the 27-year-old was also cut by the team.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Although it didn't happen on cutdown day, the Cowboys releasing Clinton-Dix because he couldn't earn the starting job in training camp was surprising. The team has a huge hole at the safety position opposite of Xavier Woods.
Big year for undrafted rookies
It was an impressive year for undrafted Cowboys as three unexpected names were among the team's initial 53. TE Sean McKeon, OT Terrence Steele, and RB Rico Dowdle. All of them faced tough competition but still managed to make it due to their impressive performances.
It was particularly interesting to me that the Cowboys decided to keep four tight ends with McKeon likely behind Blake Bell and Dalton Schultz on the depth chart. It will be one hell of a fight among them to be Blake Jarwin's number two.
Cowboys will keep 17 players on practice squad
By now, you've probably heard of Isaac Alarcón. Out of Mexico's college football powerhouse Tec de Monterrey, Isaac reached Dallas through the NFL International Player Pathway program. As part of said program, Alarcon can remain on the practice squad and not count toward the 16-man limit.
However, he can't be called up to play in 2020. However, the offensive tackle from Mexico has an entire country as a fanbase behind him and he'll be one of the most interesting players to follow in practice even if he doesn't compete for a roster spot until 2021.