My last installation of the Cowboys final 53 was a look of who makes the team without Special Teams consideration. This iteration takes a step back into reality. The first reality that should be considered is that the Cowboys will be taking a very hard look at the waiver wire when teams across the league make their final cuts.
The positions the Cowboys are likely looking to address - based on what we have seen so far in preseason, the injuries that have racked up, and of course, the impending suspension of Orlando Scandrick - are as follows: Full Back, Tight End, Defensive End, Linebacker, and Corner.
I would not be the least bit surprised to see a new face at any of these positions – if not all – when the final 53 is announced.
- Tony Romo
- Brandon Weeden
- Dustin Vaughan
With Scandrick not being considered a part of the 53 while serving his suspension, there is still room to carry Dustin. Once Scandrick is added back to the roster the Cowboys will have to decide who adds more value to the team as a whole; a 3rd QB or depth at Defensive End. Given Romo’s questionable back situation, it may be in the Cowboys best interest to ensure Weeden’s backup is already on the roster, as opposed to scraping the bottom of the barrel should the worst-case-scenario become reality.
One of the most talented groups of players on the team, some very difficult cuts will be made here. Jamar Newsome likely deserves a spot on this team, but it will be difficult for the Cowboys to keep more than 6 wide receivers, all things considered. An idea I have been kicking around that is plausible is the potential of a trade from this group to fortify another position to avoid having to gamble on the waiver wire if they can find a willing trade partner looking to do the same.
- Jason Witten
- Gavin Escobar
- James Hanna
If the Cowboys only keep 3 running backs and drop both fullbacks, this position will likely receive a blocking-type Tight End from the waiver wire.
- DeMarco Murray
- Lance Dunbar
- Ryan Williams
- Joseph Randle
Given the best 53 approach, the Cowboys may drop the full back idea all together in favor of keeping both Ryan Williams - the better runner - and Joseph Randle - the better Special Teams contributor. However, last-minute moves to the waiver wire could spell the end for one. It has long been my opinion that should Murray be injured, Lance Dunbar would still be the change of pace back and either Williams or Randle would take the lead back role. With that in mind, Williams has done more to win the coaching staffs confidence in being a workhorse, between-the-tackles type of runner. Randle has some shiftiness to his game and can find the hole, but he doesn’t have the same explosion as Williams.
- none / waiver wire
Tyler Clutts has disappointed thus far in establishing himself as a lead blocker coming out of the backfield. Having said that, Linehan wants a fullback in this offense, which is why if the Cowboys do keep one, it very well may be someone presently sitting on another team roster.
- Zack Martin
- Mackenzy Bernadeau
- Ronald Leary
- Uche Nwaneri
No changes at any position on the offensive line. If the Cowboys keep more than 8, then it's a battle between Darrion Weems and John Wetzel.
- DeMarcus Lawrence
- George Selvie
- Anthony Spencer
- Jeremy Mincey
- Tyrone Crawford
- Kenneth Boatright
With both Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence starting the season on the injury list, the Cowboys will definitely be watching the August 30th waiver wire with their fingers crossed to address the defensive line. Wilson was already cut, freeing up a spot for a new face come next week.
- Henry Melton
- Terrell McClain
- Davon Coleman
- Nick Hayden
Given the nod to start against the Dolphins, Davon Coleman may have already solidified his place in the rotation that Marinelli has planned to throw at opposing offenses. Zach Minter also saw some time in the first half, however, given the issues the Cowboys are having with injuries at defensive end, it's difficult to imagine the Cowboys keeping more than four Defensive Tackles.
- Rolando McClain
- Justin Durant
- Bruce Carter
- Anthony Hitchens
- Kyle Wilber
If the Cowboys are able to move a receiver, as opposed to cutting to avoid competing on the waiver wire, due to the loss of Holloman this is likely the position they will be looking to address. I doubt the Cowboys go with only five linebackers into the regular season; but in my opinion the 6th linebacker is not yet on the team.
- Brandon Carr
- Morris Claiborne
- Terrance Mitchell
- Sterling Moore
- Tyler Patmon
B.W. Webb is on the outside looking in. I have read different takes on his play from both sides of the spectrum in terms of his contributions, but he is not a player that can be trusted, particularly against the larger variety of receivers. Sterling Moore and Tyler Patmon are new additions to my final 53. Patmon makes it based on 1 part performance against the Dolphins and 2 parts necessity, considering Scandrick’s impending suspension and Morris Claiborne's inability to remain healthy. Justin Green did not standout in his performance against Miami, however, with corners that could be a good thing. It suggests that whomever he was shadowing was never open. For now, Sterling Moore gets the nod over Green due to his familiarity with the system. That could change come Thursday when both will be getting an extended look with the rest of the bottom of the roster players.
- Barry Church
- J. J. Wilcox
- Jakar Hamilton
- Ahmad Dixon
- Jeff Heath
Perhaps not as difficult as the running back or receiver quandary, safety will be a tough decision for the Cowboys coaching staff. It is possible the Cowboys keep the above five, which wouldn’t create too much of an issue. But given the Cowboys are still light at linebacker, this could be a cut that occurs following the final 53 to bring on a waiver wire prospect.
- Dan Bailey
- Chris Jones
- L.P. Ladouceur
Bailey and Ladouceur are still locks... that won't change any time soon. Chris Jones had a good showing against the Dolphins, but he still is not on the same level as the other Special Teams contributors.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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