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Dallas Cowboys: Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection

The Dallas Cowboys have officially closed out their OTA and mini-camp practices, and won’t take the field again as a team until July 30 in Oxnard, California at the start of training camp. That’s not to say that players won’t continue working out or practicing on their own, it just means that we have about a month before any official practices get underway once again. This is a slow time in regards to any Dallas Cowboys related news, and unfortunately any news that makes headlines is probably going to be of the negative nature (let’s hope that doesn’t happen). So, I thought I would take the opportunity to try and predict the final 53 man roster for the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback (3):

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection

The Dallas Cowboys have officially closed out their OTA and mini-camp practices, and won't take the field again as a team until July 30 in Oxnard, California at the start of training camp. That's not to say that players won't continue working out or practicing on their own, it just means that we have about a month before any official practices get underway once again.

This is a slow time in regards to any Dallas Cowboys related news, and unfortunately any news that makes headlines is probably going to be of the negative nature (let's hope that doesn't happen).

So, I thought I would take the opportunity to try and predict the final 53 man roster for the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 1Quarterback (3):

Tony Romo, Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott

Analysis: Tony Romo is without a doubt the #1 QB and the team's success will likely be determined by his health. Kellen Moore is the  backup as of now, but how he performs in training camp will ultimately decide if the organization looks for someone more experienced. Dak Prescott gets the nod over Jameill Showers because of his draft status, but I'm hoping the Cowboys can find a way to keep Showers around somehow.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 2Running Back (3):

Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Darius Jackson

Analysis: Ezekiel Elliott is going to receive a heavy workload as a rookie and should be a stud running behind the Cowboys dominant offensive line. Alfred Morris is guaranteed to make $1.8 million, so he will provide the veteran leadership and backup duties behind Elliott. I gave rookie Darius Jackson the nod over Darren McFadden because owner/general manager Jerry Jones has said before that he wants his third running back on the depth chart to contribute on special teams, and that's not part of McFadden's game anymore. Lance Dunbar likely starts of the year on the PUP list, but if Jackson performs well enough, Dunbar could become expendable.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 3Wide Receiver (5):

Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Andy Jones

Analysis: I think the top four receivers (Bryant, Williams, Beasley, and Butler) are probably pretty set, so that leaves an intense battle for the final WR spot. This is the first real shocker about my roster projection and Lucky Whitehead gets beat out by UFA Andy Jones. Jones received the opportunity to practice with the first team unit and might offer more as a WR than Whitehead.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 5Fullback (1):

Rod Smith

Analysis: Rod Smith offers an interesting skill set that is intriguing because of his versatility to play both fullback and essentially be the fourth running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Smith also plays special-teams, but he really made my roster because offensive coordinator Scott Linehan can really get creative in the way that they decide to use him on offense.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 6Tight End (3):

Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim

Analysis: No, Rico Gathers doesn't make the final 53 man roster. He is still is just too raw to justify a roster spot. Gavin Escobar may not be fully healthy when the season kicks off, but even if he is, I'm still not sure I would keep him around. Honestly, I would see if I could find a trade partner if possible. Jason Witten and James Hanna aren't going anywhere, but this will be a big  training camp for Geoff Swaim. The Dallas Cowboys could keep a watchful eye on the waiver wire and see if there is a better option for the third tight end.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 7Offensive Line (9):

Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Ronald Leary, Joe Looney, Charles Brown, Chaz Green

Analysis: Ronald Leary could be a tradable commodity, but he is valuable because he provides a backup with starting experience. Charles Brown is the swing tackle as of now, but if Chaz Green can beat him outright it could possibly allow the Cowboys to go a little lighter along the offensive line. Who knows, maybe Green can even push Doug Free for a starting role. Joe Looney was signed to be the backup at both center and guard and the rest of the starters along the offensive line is as good as there is in the NFL.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 8Defensive Line (10):

Ryan Russell, David Irving, Benson Mayowa, Jack Crawford, Charles Tapper, Mike McAdoo, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thornton, Terrell McClain, Maliek Collins

Analysis: DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are expected miss the first four games of the season due to suspension, but we're still waiting to get word of Lawrence's appeal, so his suspension could be lessened. I went a little deeper at the defensive line position because of those suspensions and as a result Mike McAdoo makes the roster. I expect the Cowboys to keep a close watch on the waiver wire and possibly add another pass rusher via trade.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 9Linebacker (7):

Sean Lee, Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Damien Wilson, Andrew Gachkar, Mark Nzeocha

Analysis: There are no real surprises here. Sean Lee and Rolando McClain will once again be the focal point of the linebacker position, but keep a close eye on Mark Nzeocha. He could challenge for the starting strong side linebacker position and be a key member on special teams as well.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 10Cornerback (5):

Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Anthony Brown, Deji Olatoye

Analysis: The cornerback position is a little concerning but, like it or not, the top three spots are locked down by Scandrick, Carr, and Claiborne. The fourth and fifth spots on the depth chart are up for grabs. Rookie Anthony Brown is intriguing and has been practicing as both an outside CB and in the slot. Deji Olatoye showed a little something towards the end of the 2015 season and has a size advantage over other Cowboys cornerbacks.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 11Safety (4):

Byron Jones, Barry Church, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier

Analysis: It may not be a big surprise to some of you, but I have the Dallas Cowboys saying goodbye to J.J. Wilcox. He is in the last year of his rookie contract and has failed to develop the way that the organization had hoped. Kavon Frazier doesn't really have to show a whole lot to make Wilcox expendable, but he does have to prove that he has more upside. Byron Jones, Barry Church, and Jeff Heath are all but locked in, but if there was an odd man out it would likely be Church if someone proves to be a better option.

Cowboys Headlines - Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection 12Specialist (3):

Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur

Analysis: Barring some unfortunate injury, the specialists for the Dallas Cowboys are chiseled in stone. I don't foresee any changes at all here. You simply don't mess with a good thing, and the Dallas Cowboys have a real good thing going with Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, and L.P. Ladouceur.

Thoughts? Opinions? Snide remarks?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide any information that you believe is worthy of further discussion. I look forward to hearing from you..

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.

  • George Johnson

    I think Kellen Moore will perform just fine in TC and preseason games and earn the 2nd team QB position. He should be at a point in his career where he is confident, experienced and ready. He should be able to step up and perform well. He still has a lot to prove and may not get any more chances. If he doesn't earn the 2nd team QB position, no other team will likely pick him up. He does play better than he practices, so should look better in preseason games than maybe he does in practices.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting George. It's the very fact that this might be Kellen Moore's last chance to make something of himself in the NFL that causes concern for me. Like you said, no other team will likely pick him up. It's that fact alone that concerns me that the Dallas Cowboys are gambling on a backup QB that no one else wants. I'm pulling for him to prove himself, but the concern will continue to remain until he can prove me wrong.

  • George Johnson

    Brian Martin: There are a lot of sports writers, experts and fans that think the Cowboys are gambling on an inferior or subpar backup QB. This is somewhat true with the fact K Moore has limited season game experience. I think we will continue to hear this complaint/observation until K Moore proves himself some more in preseason games. It is up hill for K Moore because the NFL decided he could probably not play in the NFL with his physical limitations back when he didn't get drafted. He has already proven he should have been drafted. The coaches seem to be pretty confident that Kellen Moore can do the job. I also think he can do the job especially based on S Linehan's recent comments about K Moore. Once Kellen Moore proves himself some more, I think he will get other chances but if he does not earn the 2nd team QB position in 2016, I am not sure he will get any more chances.

    • Brian Martin

      I'm waiting to see what Kellen Moore can do in training camp and preseason before passing judgment. I'll be completely on board if he shows improvement. He knows Scott Linehan's offensive system, so there shouldn't really be any excuses for poor performance. I personally think he's on a short leash and the Cowboys could be watching the waiver wire closely if they don't see the kind of progression they want from Kellen Moore.

      • George Johnson

        Brian: Sorry to keep commenting about K Moore but I am not sure about your word progression. I think K Moore can play sort of like he has in the past and still meet the Dallas standard for 2nd team QB. He has played fairly well in preseason games and last year in season games but has not received a lot of recognition. In 2013 against New England he subbed for Hill at 2nd team and had a high QB rating, scored two touchdowns, had no interceptions and essentially won the game. In 2014 he had a 108 QB rating for the preseason with three touchdowns and no interceptions but was playing mostly 3rd team. Last year in season games he did fairly well if you factor in it was his first time playing against first team defenses and he had limited reps getting ready to play. He didn't win any games and had mediocre stats overall which makes most sports writers and fans put him in the same category as Weeden and Cassel which is not really true since he outplayed them overall and they are more experienced then K Moore. I think K Moore will play well in 2016 preseason games and earn the 2nd team QB position.

        • Brian Martin

          George, I'm actually rooting for Kellen Moore, but I do want to see more from him in order to feel comfortable with him as a backup QB heading into the season. In all honesty though, I do have a gut feeling that Jameill Showers might just outperform both Moore and Prescott in preseason. He has had a year in the system now and should be more comfortable leading the offense. I'm looking forward to seeing how this position battle shakes out.

  • Josh Moore

    I believe the Cowboys should try and bulk Barry Church up a bit and use him as a hybrid linebacker safety, if nothing else just to see how it works. I believe Dak P. Will be the back up QB. He offers a little more versatility at the position than moore. It's all going to be on how he performs, but I believe dallas drafted him because of his skill set.

    • Brian Martin

      Who would you play it safety if you using Barry Church as a hybrid linebacker/safety? I personally don't like that idea. I don't see Dach Prescott as the backup in his rookie season. He's just not going to receive a lot of practice repetitions because I think will be evaluating Kellen Moore. As of right now, I think Kellen Moore is the backup,, but I think the Cowboys will be watching the waiver wire very closely and looking for someone with more experience.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Allen Hurns: Number 88 Is “All Dez”

Kevin Brady



Cowboys WR Allen Hurns: Number 88 Is "All Dez"

Friday, the Cowboys "finally" made a splash in free agency, and did so in a big way. By signing former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns to a two year deal worth $12 million, Dallas bolstered their weak receiving corps with another big-bodied threat.

Due to some similarities in their game, and the number of resources already invested into that wide receiver room, some have anticipated that the signing of Hurns signals the end of Dez Bryant's time in Dallas.

Allen Hurns, however, clearly has different plans.

Allen Hurns on Twitter

Not sure what number I'll be rocking yet but that 88 all Dez

Hurns took to Twitter to state that the number 88 is "all Dez," hinting that both he and Bryant will be on the roster in 2018. A receiving corps with both Hurns and Bryant can be dangerous, especially if used correctly.

Allen Hurns may "look" like an X receiver, but he has the ability to move into the slot as well. He can be used as a compliment to what Bryant does, and is a legitimate number two option for the Cowboys going forward.

While Hurns may believe that Bryant is safe, Terrance Williams may not be. Williams has struggled with inconsistencies and bone-headed plays during his time in Dallas, and most fans believe it's time to move on from him. The problem is, the Cowboys just paid him.

According to cap gurus, Dallas gets basically nothing back from cutting Williams, meaning they may need to find a trade partner if they want to move on. Reacting to the public reaction of the Hurns signing, Williams also took to Twitter to voice some frustrations.

Terrance Williams on Twitter

Lol at people seriously!

Yes, it appears he read your tweets.

The Cowboys now have a lot of wide outs on their roster, all fighting for roster spots and playing time. Hopefully, this competition breeds success in the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.

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Player News

Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys

Brian Martin



Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys

It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys

This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.

Allen Hurns joins a receiver group that features Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown, and the recently added Deonte Thompson.

While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.

What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?

Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?

Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?

Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?

All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.

Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.

Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.

What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?

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Dallas Cowboys

What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position

Mauricio Rodriguez



Questions Surround Cowboys WR Position After Deonte Thompson Signing

UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live. 

Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.

However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.

This week, they even signed one.

Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.

He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.

His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.

But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.

According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room.

It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.

Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.

Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.

Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.

They'd possibly have to decide among these:

  • Dez Bryant
  • Terrrance Williams
  • Cole Beasley
  • Ryan Switzer
  • Allen Hurns
  • Deonte Thompson
  • Noah Brown
  • A drafted rookie?  

This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract. 

Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.

Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.

As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.

Tell me what you think about "What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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