When the first round of cuts were released yesterday, I began to wonder: what will the 2012 Dallas Cowboys roster would look like come Sept. 1st? Well, luckily for you, I have my predictions on who the Cowboys will keep.
Quarterback – 2: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton. Stephen McGee’s run as the Cowboys third quarterback will end. He hasn’t done enough to keep the job and I think the team will be happy having Rudy Carpenter on the practice squad as an alternative. If you need your third string QB to play, you’re already in too much trouble.
Running Back – 5: DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner, Jamize Olawale, Lawrence Vickers. Olawale makes the team because of his preseason showing. I think the Cowboys like his power for some possible goal line carries.
Wide Receiver – 6: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Danny Coale. I know Coale hasn’t played a ton yet, but the Cowboys liked him enough to draft him, so it only makes sense they keep a player they believe in. Wouldn’t rule out a free agent taking one of these jobs either.
Tight End – 3: Jason Witten, John Phillips, James Hanna. No surprises here, but perhaps one small surprise would be how good Hanna has been. I think he will have a good sized role on the Cowboys this year.
Offensive Line – 9: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Nate Livings, Phil Costa, David Arkin, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ron Leary, Jeremy Parnell, Pat McQuistan. I also think someone like Montrae Holland could be added after week one.
Defensive Line – 6: Marcus Spears, Josh Brent, Sean Lissemore, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Tyrone Crawford. I think Kenyon Coleman is the odd man out because Spears has played well this preseason, but if the Cowboys want a cheaper option, they will probably keep Coleman. Either way I only think they keep one of them. Clifton Geathers gets squeezed out because despite his size, he doesn’t make any plays in games.
Linebacker – 10: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Dan Conner, Kyle Wilber, Victor Butler, Alex Albright, Orie Lemon, Adrian Hamilton. I don’t see any way to cut any of these guys, which includes Hamilton. Trying to sneak him onto the practice squad would fail. Perhaps trading away one of the backup linebackers makes sense but who and what could you get back for them?
Cornerback – 5: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, Mario Bulter, Mike Jenkins. Not sure there is any debate at this position.
Safety – 4: Barry Church, Gerald Sensabaugh, Mana Silva, Danny McCray. Matt Johnson has barely seen the field yet so I doubt he can make the roster, but perhaps they put him on IR and try to sneak him to the practice squad. They liked him in the draft so they want to see if he develops.
Special Teams – 3: L. P. Ladouceur, Dan Bailey, Chris Jones. There was a thought the Cowboys might cut Ladouceur to save money, but they made the right decision in keeping the veteran long snapper who has been virtually flawless in his career.
I think the three biggest roster spots in question are Olawale, Coale and who the Cowboys keep if it comes down to Spears or Coleman. I believe McGee is gone and McQuistan is good for a a week or two before the Cowboys bring in another offensive lineman for a cheaper veteran salary. This roster leaves some room for a veteran receiver or offensive lineman to be brought in after the rest of the NFL make their roster cuts.
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