Whelp. This it. This fourth preseason game is always intriguing to me. This is the absolute final call for guys that are on the bubble to make that last-minute push onto the active 53. While I think most coaching staffs around the league have already decided who is going to stick and who isn't - you seem to always have at least 1 player that goes out swinging in that final preseason game. So let's do this, shall we?
Defense (26 players)
Safety (4): Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Ahmad Dixon, Free Agent
Jakar Hamilton has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season, forcing me to make a change. When I originally typed up this week's projection I had Hamilton in and Dixon on the practice squad. I think Dixon really has put himself in a hole here, but he may be the one player who can earn himself a spot on the roster tonight. But I could easily see them trying to sneak Dixon onto the practice squad and signing a low-rent veteran safety from another team's scrap-heap, or even a free agent off the streets to fill in (someone like Eric Frampton in the past).
Cornerback (5): Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Tyler Patmon, Terrance Mitchell, Sterling Moore
I had resisted the urge up until last week against the Dolphins, but Tyler Patmon will be on the active 53. He deserves it. That pick-6 was a thing of beauty! While it was a horrible play by Matt Moore, I went back and watched the play over and over again. Patmon saw that play coming a mile away and broke on the ball long before Moore even released it. After the game he credited that to film study. So you have to like that. And color me shocked that they cut B.W. Webb today. I actually thought he was showing improvement.
Outside Linebacker (3): Bruce Carter, Cameron Lawrence, Kyle Wilber
With the unfortunate news about DeVonte Holloman coming down - it opened up a spot for Cameron Lawrence, who will make the team on his special teams ability alone.
Inside Linebacker (3): Justin Durant, Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens
It's been the same 3 guys all along. But what's interesting now is we have no idea who the starter is going to be. Dallas surprised us all last week by starting Hitchens at MLB, Carter at SLB, and Durant at WLB. The only thing I "think" I can say for sure is that Carter and Durant are going to be starters. We just don't know where they are going to line up. Just get the 3 best players on the field please.
Defensive Line (11): Henry Melton DT, Terrell McClain DT, Davon Coleman DT, DeMarcus Lawrence DE, George Selvie DE, Jeremy Mincey DE, Tyrone Crawford DE/DT, Dartwan Bush DE, Ken Bishop DT, Anthony Spencer DE, Nick Hayden
Need bodies. Lots and lots of bodies.
Offense (24 Players)
Quarterback (2): Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden
Dustin Vaughan is not making the 53. No way. I know some fellow writers here disagree but I'm fine with that. He has shown nothing to be deserving of a roster spot. Practice squad? Yes. Absolutely. I have no fears of another team snatching him up to add to their 53.
Running Back (5): DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams, Tyler Clutts
If Ryan Williams doesn't make this team then I will legitimately be pissed off. You can knock his pass protection and his lack of special teams prowess if you like, but he's just too good of a runner to cut loose. If you consider that Murray is in the last year of his contract and that he, as well as Dunbar, hasn't exactly been the most durable guy over his career, then to me it's case closed for Williams to make the team. And as much as I fought it, I went ahead and added FB Tyler Clutts. He's done nothing to really impress me but this offense will need a FB/Blocking TE at some point in the season. He may not be on the team at the end of season, but I think he makes the initial 53.
All off-season I was set on keeping 5 WRs. About halfway through camp I was forced to pay attention to guys like Jamar Newsome and LaRon Byrd. These two guys have treated the preseason like professional boxers - exchanging blow for blow. IF they keep 6 - and that's a huge if - I have to give the spot to Byrd at this point. Byrd is just in better physical condition right now to contribute on special teams. And that's what a 6th WR must do.
Tight End (3): Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna
These 3 are on the team. The only question is whether or not they'll decide to add a 4th guy from another roster.
Same 8 guys. I think John Wetzel has made a case for himself but not enough of a case to take a roster spot on this team or any other team. I think he safely lands on the practice squad.
Special Teams (3 Players)
Dan MFN Baily K
LP French Canadian Daddy LS
Chris Jones P
Practice Squad (10 Players)
Zach Minter DT
Will Smith LB
Jamar Newsome WR
Jemea Thomas DB
Caesar Rayford DE/DT
Kenneth Boatright DE
Dustin Vaughan QB
Darrion Weems OT
Ronald Patrick C/G
John Wetzel G/T
I love the fact that they expanded the practice squad to 10 players. Every one of these guys deserves it.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts
Star Blog1 week ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?
NFL Draft7 days ago
Final Cowboys Mock Drafts Before Free Agency Address Defensive Interior, Receiver