There is an updated depth chart over at DallasCowboys.com heading into the season opener. It shows the team's newest signings and also reveals a few interesting notes at certain positions. What can we learn from this information?
Though listed as “unofficial,” this depth chart is on the team's official website and is as good a source as any for how the Cowboys currently view their players. While most of it is as you'd expect, there are a few nuggets that I extracted on review.
Blake Jarwin is listed as the starter over Dalton Schultz. Though both should get extensive playing time this year, this nod to Jarwin is intriguing after Schultz's strong performance in 2020.
Coming into the new year I thought Dallas might let Dalton keep the starting spot and make Jarwin earn it back. But it appears that Blake didn't get Wally Pipp'd and, just like last year, is the Cowboys handpicked TE of the future.
Could that change as the season goes? Of course; Schultz was good enough last year that Dallas won't tolerate much struggling from Jarwin. But as long as he's healthy we have seen Blake's athleticism and the potential for him to do damage in this offense is high.
Guard Connor Williams is listed as the backup center with rookie Matt Farniok on the 3rd string. This is especially noteworthy now that we know Zack Martin will miss Week One, pulling Connor McGovern into starting duty.
If something did happen to Tyler Biadasz this Thursday then how would the Cowboys now respond? Sliding Williams to center was based on having McGovern to step in at left guard. It will likely come down to where Dallas feels Farniok can better perform, either taking over at center or guard.
Missing Martin is bad enough. Let's hope this theory never gets tested.
Carlos Watkins is currently on the 1st-team defense along with rookie Osa Odighizuwa. This puts Brent Urban as a backup; surprising given how he and Watkins first joined the team.
Urban and Watkins got nearly identical 1-year contracts from Dallas but with an important distinction. Brent's contract was fully guaranteed while Carlos' had minimal guaranteed money. That indicated the team was higher on Urban back when both were signed as free agents.
Now a depth chart listing may not mean much once you see the actual snap counts and how much either guy was on the field. But to now see Watkins listed as a starter over Urban may tell us that something shifted during camp.
Jaylon Smith is still listed as a starter along with Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch. Is that veteran deference or a sign that the coaches aren't as down on him as 99% of Cowboys fans?
As was just mentioned, we'll see down the road how much Smith actually is on the field over Keanu Neal and Jabril Cox. NFL teams spend most of the game in nickel defense now and we've heard that Parsons and Neal will be the primary pair for that scheme.
If Jaylon is only “starting” in the base defense then his snap count may be pretty low when all is said and done.