Training Camp, which begins on July 24th in Oxnard, California, will have a lot to say about who will make the final 53 man roster for the Dallas Cowboys. There are a lot of guys, however, who are going to be on the roster after the final cuts.
The chart below represents the names I think are etched on the stone tablet depth chart in Jason Garrett's office.
By my count that is 39 players that I'm 99.99% sure will be on the roster when the team gets ready to play the New York Giants in week one.
Several things you may notice about who's missing:
- While I think it's a good bet that Jaylon Smith will be on the opening day roster, I think there is also a good chance he starts the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He's been making strides, but why push it if he's not ready.
- Kellen Moore to me is no sure thing at backup quarterback. There are many of you, out there, including Mauricio Rodriguez, who are certain of his talents, but I think there is a possibility the team can find a more experienced backup after cut-down day. Kevin Brady thinks the team needs to address the backup quarterback position and Brian Martin asks if the backup situation is a cause for concern.
- DeMarcus Lawrence's back issues have been well documented and staff writer Jess Haynie speculated here if 2017 could be his last season in Dallas. I see Lawrence as a P.U.P. candidate as well.
- Another defensive end that has a job on the roster, just not week one, is David Irving. He has been suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. By week five he'll be on the roster.
- Defensive end will be a position that needs to be worked out throughout training camp as there are question marks beyond on the depth chart; Taco Charlton, Benson Mayowa, and Charles Tapper.
- Tight end, behind Jason Witten, is a HUGE question mark. Health and readiness will determine the depth chart here. Geoff Swaim and James Hanna are still recovering from season ending injuries from 2016. Rico Gathers has to prove he's ready to play during the preseason to warrant a roster spot.
- The team showed how they felt about Alfred Morris in the second half of last season. Morris was a non-factor leaving his job security in doubt.
- The offensive line will be much of the talk of training camp. It remains to be seen just how they will line up at left guard and right tackle, but I'm pretty sure eight of the nine or 10 roster spots are already spoken for.
- The fifth wide receiver spot (and sixth, if they decide to keep that many) will be an interesting battle in training camp. As you can see above, I believe Ryan Switzer is on the roster. Fourth round draft picks may have to earn it, but a fourth is an investment they would hate to part ways with this quickly. So it comes down to Lucky Whitehead, Brice Butler, Noah Brown, and Andy Jones for the fifth spot. My money is on Butler.
- Cornerback doesn't provide a lot of questions on who will be on the depth chart come week one. The question is how will they be deployed?
- Safety, on the other hand, does have a major question mark. Who will start alongside Byron Jones? Jeff Heath seems to be the favorite, but he'll have to produce with an increased snap count. To me Xavier Woods will be Heath's biggest competition for playing time.
With 14 roster spots available for the remaining 51 guys who will be at training camp, the competition will be hot and heavy in Oxnard to fill out the roster.
We are now just three weeks away from the beginning of football season. Speculation will soon be drawing to an end.