Roster projection: More than a few unknowns in store for Dallas ⋆
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Roster projection: More than a few unknowns in store for Dallas

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Roster projection: More than a few unknowns in store for Dallas

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.

Offense:

Quarterback

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.

Wide Receiver

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.

Tight End

  • 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.

Running Back

  • 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.

Full Back

  • 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.

Tackle

Guard

  • Zack Martin
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau
  • Ronald Leary
  • Uche Nwaneri

Center

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.

 

Defense:

Defensive End

  • 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.

Defensive Tackle

  • 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.

Linebackers

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.

Cornerbacks

  • 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.

Safety

  • 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.

 

Special Teams:

Kicker

  • Dan Bailey

Punter

  • Chris Jones

Long Snapper

  • 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.

I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

1 Comment
  • Jonathan

    I’m reluctant to remove Parnell due to the trust factor / comfort level the coaches seem to have. Every year it seem’s a player will get outplayed in preseason and yet still figure out away to take the spot. Nick Hayden is another player I retained that I think hasn’t really showed up like others; but the Cowboys keep throwing him in the starting rotation.

    I also found out Martez Wilson was cut today. Despite him being on my final 53, I’m actually not that surprised. I still say this will be a position that could see a new face once all the cuts are made across the league.

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