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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Predicting the Dallas Cowboys’ 53-Man Roster in 2013

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Predicting the 53-Man Roster for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

The last two seasons have been extremely disappointing for the Dallas Cowboys. Both seasons ended with the Cowboys having a legitimate shot at reaching the playoffs as they entered the final game of the season with a chance to win the division in both of the previous years. They lost to the New York Giants two years ago and to the Washington Redskins last season.

Every year, the Cowboys go into the season with high expectations. Jerry Jones, the General Manager and Owner of the team, keeps trying to bring a level of competitiveness to North Texas. With the recent opening of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the fans pack it out each and every week in hopes that they are watching a Super Bowl contender. The problem is that everyone seems to know the outcome of the season except for the Cowboys as it's been almost 20 years since the Dallas last won a Super Bowl. During Tony Romo's days as quarterback, they have only won one playoff game as well.

The Cowboys have some major questions on the roster this year, and of course they have some returning veterans as well. It'll be interesting to see how Jason Garrett puts it all together come training camp, especially now that he's no longer in charge of play calling on the offense as Bill Callahan has taken on that duty for the Cowboys. Also, there will be a new Defensive Coordinator in town this year as Rob Ryan was let go after last season's terrible defensive performance down the stretch. Monte Kiffin has taken over that role.

Here is what the roster figures to look like for the 2013 season.

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Quarterbacks

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Nick Stephens

It's hard to imagine a player as good as Tony Romo having so many people question his abilities. Maybe not so much his abilities to throw the ball, but it's his ability to get the Cowboys to the next level. Every time the Cowboys find themselves in a favorable position to get to the postseason, Romo seems to do something like throw an interception or two or three.

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Running Backs

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs: DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Lawrence Vickers

If they can keep him healthy, the Cowboys have one of the most dynamic running backs in all of the NFL. DeMarco Murray has shown the ability to blow by defenses and make stadiums "ooh" and "awe" when he has the ball. The problem is his health as in his first two seasons, he's already missed nine games. This is a concern for the Cowboys and something they hope is corrected to help lift some of the pressure off of Tony Romo.

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Wide Receivers

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris

When the Cowboys as a team are all healthy, they have plenty of options for Tony Romo to throw the ball to. Dez Bryant is electrifying every time he gets the ball, and fans pay money just to watch him. The only knock on Bryant since his days at college has been his attitude and off-the-field issues. Miles Austin is one of Romo's favorite targets, and he has turned into a legitimate threat for opposing defenses.

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Tight Ends

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends: Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna

For the past decade, Cowboys fans have had the privilege of watching one of the all time great players at tight end. Jason Witten has been the real deal for the Cowboys. Whether it's taking a hit from a player, losing his helmet and scampering half way up the field for a touchdown or it's getting to the first down marker so Romo can get him the ball, Witten has been amazing for Dallas. The real question will be how Gavin Escobar performs. The Cowboys took him in the second round of this year's draft, much to the dismay of fans and analysts around the country.

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Offensive Line

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Offensive Tackle: Doug Free, Jeremy Parnell, Tyron Smith, Darrion Weems

Offensive Guards: Nate Livings, Ronald Leary, David Arkin, Mackenzy Bernadeau

Centers: Travis Frederick, Phil Costa

The Cowboys are hoping they have addressed the issues they had on the offensive line last season by drafting Travis Frederick. Frederick was picked with the 31st pick after the Cowboys traded down on draft day. He is a 6'-4", 338 pound center from Wisconsin, and hopefully he can help keep Tony Romo upright long enough to get the ball down the field.

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Defensive Line

Dallas
Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Ends: Demarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, Ikponmwosa Igbinosum, Monte Taylor

Nose Tackle: Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore, Rob Callaway, Ben Bass

Last season the Cowboys, under Rob Ryan, had a lot of flaws on defense. The defense gave up 25 points a game which ranked 24th in the league and gave up 355.4 total yards per game with 125.2 of them being on the ground. This defense has to improve or the Cowboys will be spending January at home.

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Linebackers

Dallas
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Outside Linebackers: Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Alex Albright, Ernie Sims

Middle Linebackers: Sean Lee, Cameron Sheffeld

Sean Lee seems to be the quarterback of the defense and the person that rallies the troops. The Cowboys will need him along with Bruce Carter to help anchor a defense that's trying to improve from last season.

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Defensive Backs

Dallas
Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore

Safeties: Barry Church, Will Allen, J.J. Wilcox, Danny Mc.Cray

Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and Orlando Scandrick will try to anchor the defensive backfield for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Last year Dallas allowed 230.2 yards per game in the air which ranked 19th in the league. This is a number they believe they can improve on and get better with.

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Special Teams

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Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Punter: Chris Jones

Kicker: Dan Bailey

Long Snapper: L.P. LaDouceur

Dan Bailey was pretty good last season as a field goal kicker as he made 29 of 31 and didn't miss an extra point all season. Bailey's contribution once again will be a big spark for Dallas this season, especially if the offense struggles to get into the end zone.