Breakdown of Dallas Cowboys’ Depth Chart After Final Roster Cuts
Breakdown of Cowboys' Depth Chart After Roster Cuts
The Dallas Cowboys made their final roster cuts on Saturday to get to 53, but then continued to move players around, so the roster itself still isn't "final". However, the depth chart is final for all practical purposes, so now we can analyze it and see the team that will take the field for the games that actually count in 2013.
What's interesting is Anthony Armstrong was the first player waived among the Cowboys' final roster cuts yet he's still listed as the 54th man on Dallas' official roster. At first glance, it appears that might be a mistake considering Nate Livings is still listed and it's already been reported he will be put on IR. However, the Cowboys are working on a deal to trade for Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Edgar Jones, so Armstrong is indeed the 54th man on the active roster, which is interesting considering the rumors that surfaced during the 24 hours leading up to the roster cut deadline surrounding his status.
So if that clear-as-mud situation doesn't sum up the Cowboys' final roster cuts and depth chart, nothing will. Let's take a look at the players who will officially take the field for Dallas in Week 1 (we think), shall we?
Dallas decided to go with only two quarterbacks and released Alex Tanney, who could easily be brought back for the practice squad if he clears waivers. Tanney showed a lot of promise in the Cowboys' third preseason game against the Cardinals, but then didn't do enough to solidify a roster spot in his full game against the Texans in the final exhibition. Simply put, Tanney will likely be available as a roster fill-in if/when the Cowboys need him during the season.
It's no surprise the Cowboys kept four running backs. Dunbar did more than enough to earn a larger role in 2013 and there's no way Dallas was going to cut Randle after using a draft pick on him this April. Tanner had an up-and-down preseason, but was kept likely as injury insurance since Murray isn't exactly what you would call durable. Kendial Lawrence was the only running back waived on Saturday.
As mentioned, Anthony Armstrong was the first player waived by the Cowboys on Friday but he's still listed on the active roster as the 54th man following rumors he'll be re-signed following Week 1. Bryant, Austin, Harris and Beasley are returning from last year's active roster while Terrance Williams was a lock to survive the cuts after Dallas used its third-round draft pick on him earlier this year.
Tim Benford and Danny Coale were the other two receivers waived on Saturday.
After switching to the 12-personnel this year, the Cowboys didn't keep any fullbacks, so it was expected they would keep four tight ends. However, Smith's excellent showing in training camp and the preseason earned him the final spot among the tight ends and he could see playing time if anyone is forced to miss time with injury and Escobar's blocking doesn't improve.
Nate Livings (IR)
The Cowboys made a huge mistake by waiving Kevin Kowalski, so now Dallas fans must hope he clears waivers and is re-signed for the practice squad because Lord knows he'll be needed during the regular season. Heck, he could be called upon to start by Week 2 if injuries continue to plague this makeshift unit. Edawn Coughman, Ray Dominguez and Demetress Bell were the other offensive linemen the Cowboys cut over the weekend. Livings is on IR, so there are really only nine o-linemen on the Week 1 depth chart.
Again, that's surprising and somewhat disappointing for the Dallas faithful, but that's what the Cowboys have with which to work to start the season.
Jay Ratliff (R/PUP)
No surprises on the defensive line as Hayden, Selvie and Cohen played well enough to make the roster and they might be needed if injuries continue to pile up. Jay Ratliff will start the season on the Reserve/PUP list while Tyrone Crawford will miss the entire season on IR. Jabari Fletcher, Thaddeus Gibson, Jerome Long and Jason Vega were the d-linemen waived on Saturday.
The first four were locks to make the roster from the get-go, but Holloman elevated himself to that level in the second preseason game with his second interception. This is an extremely talented and mostly experienced group, which could be arguably the best in the league by season's end.
Taylor Reed, Brandon Magee, Cameron Lawrence and Caleb McSurdy were the linebackers waived on Saturday.
Dallas kept six safeties, which makes the cornerback not seem nearly as thin with only four on the depth chart. Sterling Moore and Micah Pellerin were expected to be cut, but Xavier Brewer was given more than a puncher's chance to make the team. However, the potential and extreme depth of the safety position led to the decision to let him go and he might be signed to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Heath did more than enough to earn a roster spot this preseason while McCray took a pay cut to stay on the team as a special teams ace and viable backup safety. Frampton made big strides from his time as a roster fill-in last season, which ultimately led to him being kept as the sixth safety.
Jakar Hamilton did enough to earn a roster spot, so it's odd he was waived instead of Frampton, but he'll undoubtedly be signed to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
No surprises here. All three players were set to return to their starting roles as long as nothing crazy happened.