There is a still a lot of time between now and when the Dallas Cowboys have to cut down their roster to get under the league mandated 53 limit, but that doesn't mean we can't go ahead and speculate what the team will look like in 2019. That's what I'm going to attempt to do today in this way-too-early Cowboys 53-man roster projection.
This is no easy task to undertake. The Dallas Cowboys have one of their deepest rosters from top to bottom in recent memory. There are going to be a lot of good football players who are left looking for another team to play for when cuts are made. That's both good and bad, because you never want to let go of good players and see them find success with another team.
With all of that in mind, here is my first attempt at predicting the 2019 Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster. Feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share your thoughts and opinions on the players I selected, or didn't.
Dak Prescott, Mike White
The Dallas Cowboys carried three quarterbacks on the roster last season, but it's unlikely they will do so once again in 2019. Because of the current depth throughout the roster, Dallas will probably go light at QB this year in order to go a little deeper at another position. If that is indeed the case, I think Mike White gets the nod over Cooper Rush because of his upside and the fact he still has three years remaining on his rookie contract.
Running Back (4)
Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Mike Weber, Jamize Olawale
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Tony Pollard and Mike Weber to hopefully lighten the load on Ezekiel Elliott's shoulders to help prolong his career, but don't be surprised if they add a veteran running back at some point. For now though, it's up to these two rookies to solidify the RB position in 2019 without any outside help coming in.
Jamize Olawale was re-signed by the Cowboys during the offseason, meaning they will once again carry a fullback on their 53-man roster. They haven't used a FB much on offense with Scott Linehan calling plays these last several years, but hopefully Kellen Moore can get Olawale more involved in the game plan. He can be a weapon if utilized correctly.
Wide Receiver (6)
Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, Cedrick Wilson
For now, I have the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers on their 53-man roster. But, I think only Cooper, Gallup, and Cobb are the only ones who have anything locked down right now. I decided to go ahead and keep Tavon Austin around because he can contribute as a runner, receiver, and return man. I'm also keeping Allen Hurns because of his versatility to play on the outside or in the slot. I went ahead and kept Cedrick Wilson because I like his upside, but there are a lot of young, talented WRs who could challenge anyone of the bottom three for a roster spot.
Tight End (3)
Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz
The Dallas Cowboys pretty much have the same tight end group from a season ago, except Jason Witten essentially replaces Geoff Swaim as the TE1. Witten's decision to come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys looks good on paper because of his past success, but I don't know if he is a clear upgrade. That's one of the reasons why I'm hoping Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz can take the next steps in their development, but if not don't be surprised if Dallas looks outside the organization for more help.
Offensive Line (9)
Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, Joe Looney, Cameron Fleming, Mitch Hyatt
The Dallas Cowboys have some outstanding depth along the offensive line right now. They're starting five should be pretty much set in stone with Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Zack Martin, Connor Williams, and Travis Frederick, who should regain his starting job after missing all of 2018 with an autoimmune disease. This group should be a force to be reckoned with this season, if healthy.
Luckily though, the depth behind their starters gives the Cowboys the ability to not only cover themselves if an injury should happen, but also allow them to go a little short along the OL. Joe Looney and Connor McGovern can both play guard or center, and Cameron Fleming will once again handle the swing tackle responsibilities. Dallas could go was just eight OL in order to go a little deeper at another position, but they seem to think pretty highly of Mitch Hyatt and may need to stash him on the roster to keep another team from snatching him up.
Defensive Line (10)
DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Tyrone Crawford, Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton, Antwaun Woods, Christian Covington, Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, Kerry Hyder
I decided to go with 10 defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys in this 53-man roster projection. I went with four true defensive ends and four true defensive tackles. The other two in Tyrone Crawford and Kerry Hyder have the versatility to play DE or DT, which is something Rod Marinelli values in his "rush men". But, I think at best only half of these players are safe.
Outside of DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, no defensive end should feel safe they've secured a roster spot in 2019. The same can probably be said about defensive tackle as well behind Antwaun Woods, Christian Covington, Maliek Collins, and Trysten Hill. Watching the current Cowboys group of defensive lineman slug it out throughout the remainder of the offseason could be the most interesting position battles to keep an eye on.
Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, Chris Covington, Justin March-Lillard
Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch will once again return as the Dallas Cowboys starting MIKE and WILL linebackers in 2019, leaving only the SAM LB spot up for grabs. As things stand right now though, Sean Lee seems to be the favorite to play SAM this year. I think Joe Thomas will once again be the backup MIKE and WILL, leaving Chris Covington and Justin March-Lillard fighting for what little playing time may be left. This is a position I believe the Cowboys could look to upgrade with a more proven vet at some point if such a player becomes available.
Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Michael Jackson
I think the cornerback position for the Dallas Cowboys will look much like it did last season. Jones and Awuzie should once again start on the outside, with Brown handling the nickel/slot CB responsibility. Jourdan Lewis will unfortunately fight for whatever scraps are left over, but there aren't many No. 4 CBs around the league as talented. He could be an invaluable fill-in if needed. As far as Michael Jackson is concerned, the hope is he rarely touches the field, making his rookie year a developmental one.
Xavier Woods, George Iloka, Jeff Heath, Donovan Wilson
The only thing I really know for sure about the Dallas Cowboys current stable of safeties is that Xavier Woods is the only one guaranteed a roster spot. He should be the starting free safety this season, but who plays next to him remains up in the air. George Iloka looks to be the favorite to earn the distinction, but that remains to be seen. I decided to keep Jeff Heath because of his experience and special teams ability, and Donovan Wilson over Kavon Frazier due to his youth and upside. Don't be surprised if this is a position Dallas tries to upgrade though.
Special Teams (3)
Chris Jones, Brett Maher, L.P. Ladouceur
Barring some unforeseen addition, it looks like Chris Jones, Brett Maher, and L.P. Ladouceur should once again be the Dallas Cowboys starting specialty players in 2019. There currently isn't any competition on the roster that should cause them any concern about losing their jobs as of right now, but that could change.
Takeaway Tuesday: Zeke Had The Exact Kind of Game Cowboys Need
It's pretty difficult to deal with the hype of being 2-0 to open a 2019 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys have done just that with a revamped offense and a quarterback that's thrown seven touchdowns in the process. They currently sit alone atop of the NFC East and although it's too early to know what kind of team this will be when it's all said alone, we're excited.
Let's dive into this week's takeaways!
We Need Robert Quinn Back
The Dallas Cowboys defense hasn't been as bad as many would think. They've had a few bad moments but the talent is still there and should be improving as the season goes on. Last Sunday, what was most frustrating to me was the lack of a pass rush. DeMarcus Lawrence had a pretty good game, even though his stat line doesn't look very pretty. The pressure was there constantly and he forced a handful of bad plays from Case Keenum. Tyrone Crawford managed to sack him once.
Other than that, for most of the game the pressure was scarce. Fortunately, the Cowboys are getting Robert Quinn back from suspension this week. Having two quality edge rushers will boost a defense that has the potential to be great, but has only been "good" two weeks into the season.
Ezekiel Elliott Had The Kind of Game The Cowboys Need
Zeke was back for a heavier workload in week 2 after having a snap count in the season opener. It may have not felt like it, but the Cowboys' star running back had a pretty good game versus the Redskins. On 23 carries he had 111 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
In contrast of recent years, Elliott had a great game without the team heavily leaning on the running game. Dak Prescott threw the ball 30 times and Zeke still had a great game. This is what Cowboys Nation should want out of Kellen Moore's offense.
Elliott has two rushing touchdowns in the season, compared to six in all of last year. This is a product of an offense that's now dangerous in many ways, specially in the red zone. You gotta love what Moore is accomplishing so far.
Slow Starts Can't Continue to Happen
The biggest issue with the Cowboys in the first two weeks of the season has been their slow openings. In both games they've started trailing early. The worst thing about it is that it's been due to giving up big plays (like Saquon Barkley's big run in week 1) and quick, unsuccessful drives on offense (like a three-and-out drive followed by a drive that ended in an interception last Sunday).
Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Giants and Redskins didn't pose much of a problem. But when we reach the tougher stretches of the schedule, we know how quickly a game can turn south. Not every rival will be as unforgiving as the 0-2 foes they've faced so far.
Dak Prescott Continues to Prove He's It
Last but not least, we'll talk about Dak Prescott. Once again, he looked great. He finished the day with 269 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that came on a tipped ball from Randall Cobb's hand. He threw an absolute dime to WR Devin Smith, giving him his ninth 50+ yard touchdown pass of his career (ranking third in the NFL since 2016 behind Tom Brady and Philip Rivers).
All game long, he was precise against Washington's defense. He dealt three touchdowns to three different players and was making throws with anticipation and poise. If you're not sold on Dak Prescott yet, I don't know if you'll ever be.
He also looked well as a runner, specially on that 42-yard run where he stiffed arm Josh Norman. I hope the Cowboys continue to use him in the running game.
Brees Out for 6 Weeks, How Much Will Cowboys Win Streak Last?
The Dallas Cowboys are off to a hot start in 2019. Two weeks into the season, they're showing off a 2-0 record as they've outscored their opponents 66-38. The offense has been on point through two games under Kellen Moore's coordination. There have been some issues, but these have been largely outnumbered by the positive things.
Truth be told, such a start was expected. Well, maybe not Dak's seven touchdowns and 674 yards, but having two wins to start off the season certainly was. The Cowboys opening three-game stretch looked like an easy one from miles away. Dallas faces the Miami Dolphins next Sunday and they're already favorites by 20.5 points in the betting world.
Things weren't expected to heat up for the Cowboys until week 4 and now it seems like that won't happen.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees suffered a hand injury against the L.A. Rams last Sunday and will require surgery. A torn ligament on his throwing hand thumb will keep him out for at least six weeks. This is a heavy blow for a team expected to be a Super Bowl contender.
From our breaking news segment on @nflnetwork: #Saints QB Drew Brees needs thumb surgery and is out for roughly 6 weeks. Teddy Bridgewater is the new starter. https://t.co/x4g6yVVIZm
With Teddy Bridgewater set to become the Saints' starting quarterback, odds will likely shift in the Cowboys' direction when both teams face each other on September 29th, a matchup that will take place under the lights on Sunday Night Football.
For the Cowboys, it means an increased chance of winning on week 4. I'm not going to lie to you, I would 100% rather face a Saints team with Drew Brees under center to enjoy a good football game, but it is what it is. You hate to see a great football player like Brees deal with injuries like this.
The Saints are still a very complete football team and shouldn't be underestimated, but it's hard to picture them being as productive offensively without their elite quarterback. Having said that, the Cowboys' schedule looks very favorable for Dallas.
These are the rivals that the Cowboys will face prior to the bye week:
- VS Miami Dolphins
- @ New Orleans Saints
- VS Green Bay Packers
- @ New York Jets
- vs Philadelphia Eagles
The toughest rivals on that slate are clearly the Packers and Eagles. It won't be easy, but should the Cowboys stay healthy, beating both definitely seems possible. Before that, I won't be surprised if the Cowboys reach the bye week with a 7-0 record.
This team has been pretty impressive through two weeks and if they clean up their slow starts, watch out for a long win streak. Looking at the games after the bye week, the biggest challenge definitely are the New England Patriots on week 12.
I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but I truly believe a long win streak is ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Such a start to the season wouldn't be all that new for the Dak Prescott "era." Although they lost their season opener in 2016, they went on to win 11 straight on route to the #1 seed in the NFC.
We'll have a better idea of where the Cowboys stand after they face better competition. Right now, we need to handle the hype of a satisfying 2-0 record.
How long do you think the Cowboys win streak will last?
REPORT: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Injury
Another tough injury coming out of last week's game against Washington; Cowboys starting Safety Xavier Woods is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain injury.
This comes just a day after Dallas lost WR Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Cowboys FS Xavier Woods is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, source said. A blow to the secondary with #Saints, #Packers among upcoming opponents.
The next man up at safety appears to be Darian Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since midway through the 2018 season. He was re-signed as a free agent last March and is one of the key reasons that Dallas chose not to keep veteran George Iloka at final cuts.
Cowboys S Darian Thompson will make his first start Sunday since joining team in 2018, source said. S Xavier Woods is sidelined with high ankle sprain.
Earlier this morning, it was reported that Dallas is working out free agent safety Josh Jones. He was a 2nd-Round pick of the Packers in 2017 who was released last month after falling down the depth chart and demanding a trade.
Dallas still has Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson on the roster for safety depth. While many fans would love to see Wilson get the start this week, Darian Thompson's game and athleticism are more suited to play the free safety role.
Thompson also has experience, having started 17 games from 2016-2017 with the New York Giants. He was their 3rd-Round pick in 2016.
Thankfully, this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins gives the Cowboys a soft opponent with which to make these adjustments. But missing Xavier Woods is going to hurt; he is a rising star on defense and easily their top player at safety.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys RB Depth Chart: Zeke’s In, So Who’s Out?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys DE Taco Charlton to be Inactive Sunday; Trade Coming?
Game Notes1 week ago
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From Cowboys 2019 Season Opener
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Cowboys Offense has Potential to Become Next “Greatest Show on Turf”
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Why Michael Gallup Could be Cowboys Most Important WR in 2019
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Robert Quinn Returns; How Will Cowboys Make Room on Roster?
Player News7 days ago
Report: Dak Prescott Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Gallup And Cooper Allow Cowboys To Be a Passing Team