We are 124 days from the Cowboys opening game against that team from New York. It’s safe to say we know for sure about 40 something players that will be in Cowboys roster, but who will fill out the final 53 is really a guessing game at this point. And I like games. So here is a (very early) projection of the Cowboys final roster for week 1.
Tony Romo – Kyle Orton
No surprise here really. There was thought that Dallas could have used one of their picks on a developmental QB, but since they didn’t, Dallas will carry two QBs. Nick Stephens and UDFA Dalton Williams will take some snaps early on in training camp, but best case scenario is one of them sticks around on the practice squad.
Running Backs (4)
DeMarco Murray – Joseph Randle – Lance Dunbar – Lawrence Vickers
I’m not sure that Lawrence Vickers makes the final roster, but for now he’s here. Dallas doesn’t really have a blocking RB and Vickers will get to prove the chance that he’s healthy and can improve over last season. A guy I don’t see making the team is Phillip Tanner. Tanner never really wowed the coaches when giving the opportunity, and to be honest doesn’t bring anything to the table that Dunbar or Randle cant. UDFA Kendial Lawrence (Rockwell Heath) could be a sleeper if the Cowboys chose to carry 4 RBs
Wide Receivers (6)
Dez Bryant – Miles Austin – Terrance Williams – Dwayne Harris – Cole Beasley – Danny Coale
The first four on this list are set. The only question is who wins the number three WR spot between Williams and Harris. I feel that the coaches really liked what Beasley showed last season and healthy Danny Coale will turn a lot of heads this summer. Plus, with Mile Austin’s track record on injuries lately, carrying six WRs isn’t out of the question.
Tight Ends (3)
Jason Witten – Gavin Escobar – James Hannah
I don’t see a situation (barring injury) that this list will be any different. Andre Smith and Colin Cochart are nothing more than camp bodies/Practice Squad material and most likely won’t beat out Hannah.
Offensive Line (10)
Tyron Smith – Nate Livings – Travis Frederick – Mackenzy Bernadeau – Doug Free – Jeremy Parnell – Phil Costa – David Arkin – Ronald Leary – Darrion Weems
It’s very possible that instead of Doug Free’s name, you will see Eric Winston’s when it’s all said it done. That looks like it’s up to Free. I was hesitant to put 10 OL here, but outside of Tyron Smith there isn’t a sure thing on that line. The man thing to watch is seeing how the interior of the line shakes out. Does first round pick Travis Frederick stay at C, or kick inside to OG allowing Phil Costa to start?
Defensive Line (8)
DeMarcus Ware – Jason Hatcher – Jay Ratliff – Anthony Spencer – Tyrone Crawford – Kyle Wilber – Sean Lissemore – Rob Callaway
There really isn’t much if a surprised here, but there should be a heated battle for the last spot on the defensive line. Ben Bass was a training camp surprise, and the Cowboys brought in former second round pick Brian Price to compete at DT. I like Callaway the most and he should be one of the last guys to make the final 53.
Sean Lee – Bruce Carter – Justin Durant – DeVonte Holloman – Caleb McSurdy – Alex Albright – Brandon Magee
This position will really come down to who makes it on the special teams unit. The first three guys on this list are a lock, and Dallas really liked the play of Albright last season. There is a reason Brandon Magee received the amount of guaranteed money ($70,000) he did, he can play both Strong and Weakside linebacker and should make his mark on Special Teams.
Brandon Carr – Morris Claiborne – Orlando Scandrick – BW Webb – Sterling Moore
The Cowboys were decimated by injuries last season at the corner position, that’s one reason why i’m going with a high number for now. Moore’s ability to play some Safety keeps him on this roster for now. Don’t sleep on Brandon Underwood on making the roster either.
Barry Church – Matt Johnson – Will Allen – JJ Wilcox – Danny McCray
I think a total of 10 secondary players might be a bit too much, but frankly we don’t know what we will get with Barry Church and Matt Johnson. If they come in healthy and show that they can play at a high level, this number may be reduced by one. That will put Danny McCray on the hot seat, but he stays on now for his Special Teams play. The real question is who wins the FS spot. It should be a heated three way battle between Allen, Johnson, and rookie JJ Wilcox.
Special Teams (3)
Dan Bailey – Chris Kluwe – L.P. Ladoucer
Chris Kluwe? Ok this might not happen, but Chris Jones did have offseason knee surgery, and the Cowboys could bring in a veteran punter like Kluwe for competition.
WR Tim Benford
WR Carlton Mitchell
RB Kendial Lawrence
QB Dalton Williams
OL Ray Dominguez
DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun
LB Cam Lawrence
S Jakar Hamilton