Only 53 roster spots are available for the 90 players that will be going to training camp. After the 53 roster spots are handed out, a player’s best hope then lies with the 10 practice squad slots.
Jeanna Thomas from SB Nation put together the practice squad rules in September of last year. Here’s the gist of who can be on the practice squad.
- Each team can keep 10 players on its practice squad.
- Up to four of those 10 players can have two accrued NFL seasons. So, was a player on the 53-man roster for at least six games of two NFL seasons? Sorry, they’re out of luck.
- It used to be that three weeks of an NFL season spent on a practice squad counted as one full season of practice squad eligibility. Now, that number has been increased to six weeks, which expands some players’ eligibility.
- A player can spend no more than three seasons on any practice squad.
So with that, who are the 10 players most likely to be on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad?
1. Noah Brown, Wide Receiver
Let me start off by saying that I love the potential that Noah Brown brings to the table. I think his blocking in the run game gives him an outside shot to make the roster week one.
With Dez-like athletic ability and that blocking technique, he will have a future in the NFL. He would be the best bet to be called up during the season if a player like Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, or Brice Butler gets hurt as he can fill that outside receiver role.
The Dallas Cowboys are already pretty deep at wide receiver, it makes sense to me that Brown would start the season on the Practice Squad.
2. Cooper Rush, Quarterback
The Dallas Cowboys love to keep a developmental quarterback on the practice squad just to see what they have. We saw them do this with Jameill Showers before moving him to safety.
It’s unlikely that Cooper Rush will be a backup on the active roster, so he makes a lot of sense for the practice squad.
3. Jordan Carrell, Defensive Tackle
Defensive tackle on the Cowboys roster is actually fairly deep. With Cedric Thornton and Stephen Paea in front of him at the 1-technique, and Maliek Collins able to help out there too, it leaves little room for rookie Jordan Carrell.
Carrell is a prospect that the team is excited about, but the numbers game will leave him out of the mix for a roster spot.
4. Joey Ivie, Defensive Tackle
Like Carrell, Joey Ivie will likely be squeezed off the active roster and onto the practice squad because of the depth on the defensive line and the versatility of players like Tyrone Crawford and David Irving, who can play both inside and outside.
Ivie was productive in his limited role at Florida, but may need some more seasoning. What better way to grow than to go against the Dallas offensive line as a scout team player.
5. Marquez White, Cornerback
A sixth round draft pick in 2017 out of Florida State, any other year in the last decade, White might have had a chance to compete for a roster spot. The 2017 Cowboys cornerback group is insanely deep.
There are five guys who could start on the inside or outside for this team in 2017. When was the last time we said that?
White has great athletic ability and will be a player in this game, but may need some time to marinate with the practice squad before being thrown in against NFL caliber wide receivers.
6. Andy Jones, Wide Receiver
Many were intrigued by the ability of Andy Jones during training camp of 2016. Early on he was making plays and had been a favorite target of Tony Romo.
He faded in the preseason games and down the stretch of training camp. Likely to be pushed off the roster because of the depth at his position, Jones will make for a solid practice squad stash again in 2017.
7. Lance Lenoir, Wide Receiver
Already making some noise in OTAs, undrafted rookie free agent, Lance Lenoir is a long shot to make the active roster. He will probably be a training camp darling like Andy Jones was last year, but there won’t be enough room for him with the depth that the Cowboys have at wide receiver.
8. Nate Theaker, Guard
The team’s bread and butter right now is up front on the offensive line, so Dallas will keep offensive lineman on the practice squad to develop.
Theaker played at a small school, but has enough ability that the Cowboys will bring him to camp. He’s unlikely to break into a backup role on the 53 man roster, but like most practice squad players, he has some potential. He’ll have to show enough during the preseason games to warrant keeping him on the practice squad.
9. Dan Skipper, Tackle
Dan Skipper is the tallest player in the NFL. Size does matter, but at what point is it too much size? With Skipper the Cowboys will find out.
Skipper’s experience at both tackle spots makes him an intriguing prospect as a future swing tackle. However, like with Theaker, the team’s depth on the offensive line is going to push Skipper off the roster.
10. Lucas Wacha, Linebacker
Lucas Wacha, the rookie out of Wyoming, made some noise at the rookie minicamp.
From Bryan Broaddus’ notes.
“Wyoming linebacker Lucas Wacha was super active on tape this past season. I would keep an eye on him as a possible weakside nickel linebacker in this scheme. His coverage skill and awareness give him a shot to play a couple of different roles, which might help him make this team undrafted.”
He may have a shot to make the team, but to me it’s a long shot.
The depth of this team is going to make it highly unlikely for any of the undrafted free agents to make the team. Even a couple of the draft picks in Brown and White are going to have an uphill battle.
There’s certainly a long way to go to get to September when the practice squad is announced, but as we look at players during training camp, it’s important to have a realistic view of where they will end up with the team.
Questions still need to be answered at several positions on the team, but the one thing that is evident is that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are deep.