Projected Dallas Cowboys’ 53-Man Roster
Projecting the Dallas Cowboy's 53 Man Roster
For the past two seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have been contenders for the NFC East title with both of their attempts ending in losses. The talent level on this roster is undeniably amazing, but there are still a few missing pieces. In order for the Cowboys to finally push their way into the playoffs, they needed to address the lack of depth at some of their positions this offseason.
With the preseason winding down, Jason Garrett and the rest of the Cowboys' coaching staff are faced with the challenging task of cutting down this roster to just 53 men. While I’m sure it is not every coach’s dream to have to tell a player that they are not good enough to be on their team, it is a task that comes with the job.
The majority of the starting players on this team are already set, but what the Cowboys need to find is quality depth. The scouting department has done an excellent job in recent years of finding high quality undrafted free agents. Some of the most talented players on the Cowboys' roster, Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Dan Bailey, to name a few, have come in as undrafted free agents.
The players who have been invited to camp have had their chance to show the Cowboys' staff what they can bring to this team, and now they will have to wait and see if they made the cut. Let’s take a look at who I think will make this year’s final 53-man roster.
The quarterback position, both starting and backup, on this team is set. Romo has the starting spot locked up and Kyle Orton will continue his role as the backup. The Cowboys are most likely going to keep two quarterbacks on their roster, but Alex Tanney might be kept on the practice squad.
Dallas has one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL in Demarco Murray, but he has proven he can’t stay healthy. Having quality depth behind Murray is going to be crucial for the Cowboys' running game this season. I think Lance Dunbar has proven enough to be considered for the backup running back spot, leaving Joseph Randle and Phillip Tanner as situational players.
The Cowboys have one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Obviously, these two will remain the starters. Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams will all be worked into receiving corps this season also. Dallas is likely going to keep one other receiver on their roster and I think Anthony Armstrong will get that spot, simply because of his ability to contribute in the return game.
The Dallas Cowboys have been blessed with a dominant tight end for the better part of the last decade. Jason Witten has been a perennial Pro Bowler throughout his career and is likely a future Hall of Famer. Behind Witten, Dallas possibly has another emerging superstar in James Hanna. The young tight end is very fast and has the ability to stretch the field. Gavin Escobar and Dante Rosario are both going to be on this roster and are going to see plenty of playing time due increased use of “12 personnel” that the Cowboys are planning on using.
The offensive tackle positions aren’t going to change from last season. Tyron Smith is going to be the left tackle and Doug Free is going to start at right tackle. Jermey Parnell is going to be the backup for both tackle positions. When he gets back from his injury, Ronald Leary is going to be the starting left guard and Mackenzy Bernadeau will start at right guard. Nate Livings and David Arkin will be the backups at the guard positions. Rookie first-round draft pick Travis Frederick is going to be the starting center and Phil Costa will serve as his backup.
Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer will be the starting defensive ends, with Kyle Wilber, George Selvie and Ben Bass filling the backup roles. The starting defensive tackle positions will be manned by Jay Ratliff, if he can manage to get healthy, and Jason Hatcher. Nick Hayden, who has done a nice job filling in for Ratliff so far, and Sean Lissemore will be the backups.
The Cowboys could have one of the best linebacker groups in the NFL, if they remain healthy. Sean Lee just received a six-year contract extension last week, and he is going to be the heart of this defense at middle linebacker. There is a battle for the backup spot between Caleb McSurdy and Brandon Magee. I think Magee has the edge over McSurdy, though. Justin Durant and Bruce Carter will be the starting outside linebackers with Devonte Holloman and Ernie Sims filling in behind them.
The starting cornerbacks are going to remain the same as last season. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have the starting spots locked down and Orlando Scandrick will see plenty of playing time as the nickel cornerback. Sterling Moore and rookie B.W. Webb will take the final two spots at the position.
Barry Church and Will Allen appear to be a good tandem at the safety position. I think we will see them as the starters for this season with J.J. Wilcox and Danny McCray filling in behind them. I really would like to see Matt Johnson get healthy and contribute to this team, but he has proven that he cannot stay on the field; therefore, I think the Cowboys are going to part ways with him. Jeff Heath has proven this preseason that he can be a consistent contributor, and I think the Cowboys are going to give him the final safety spot on this roster.
Dan Bailey has been a savior for this team in the past, and I think his is going to remain the Cowboys' kicker for years to come. Chris Jones will be the punter and L.P. Ladouceur will be the long-snapper.