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Projecting Cowboys’ 53-man roster after first preseason game

By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

OXNARD, Calif. — This factor goes to maneuver shortly now that the first game is out of the best way.

The Cowboys drudged by means of greater than two weeks of coaching camp earlier than they opened their preseason in Denver. However ugly it may need been, they’re now a 3rd of the best way by means of the preseason slate, with the second game already simply 5 days away.

Remember, that is the Cowboys’ first time taking part in three preseason video games, too. Last yr they participated within the Hall of Fame Game, which meant they bought saddled with 4 preseason video games. This yr, once they return to Dallas in lower than every week, they’re going to have only one extra exhibition game to play.

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Long story brief, it’s going to be time to chop this roster down earlier than we even notice it. The first spherical of cuts, to get from 90 gamers to 85, is scheduled to occur on Tuesday.

With all that in thoughts, let’s take an early take a look at what a Cowboys’ lower to 53 may seem like.

Quarterbacks: 3

Dak Prescott
Cooper Rush
Will Grier

Look, I do know Rush did not play nicely in Denver, and so do you. He nonetheless went to Minneapolis final Halloween and received the Cowboys a street game in opposition to a strong crew. That sort of stuff issues to a training workers. 

Grier injured his groin on the precise incorrect time, however hopefully he’ll nonetheless get to make a push for the backup job. In the meantime, I’m retaining all three as a result of Grier is simply too intriguing to chop. Same group as final yr.

Running Backs: 3

Ezekiel Elliott
Tony Pollard
Rico Dowdle

Having probably the greatest duos within the league makes this gorgeous straightforward. I’m tempted to place undrafted rookie Malik Davis on the roster, however Dowdle has additionally had a pleasant camp and might double as a kick returner. I lean towards expertise. 

If you are asking the place the fullback is, his title is Connor McGovern.

Wide Receivers: 6

CeeDee Lamb
Noah Brown
Jalen Tolbert
Simi Fehoko
Michael Gallup
James Washington

Gallup and Washington each have to make the preliminary roster if they are going to be introduced again from injured reserve or the Physically Unable to Perform record. But I’m going to exit on a limb and say the crew decides to maintain Gallup, coming back from a torn ACL, off PUP within the hope that he can return to motion extra shortly.

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Once Washington, out with a damaged proper foot, is moved to injured reserve, the entrance workplace can convey again a teen like KaVontae Turpin or Dennis Houston.

Tight Ends: 3

Dalton Schultz
Sean McKeon
Jake Ferguson

McKeon has regarded just like the chief within the clubhouse for the TE2 job, however Ferguson had a formidable night time in opposition to the Broncos. If he retains it up, possibly it negates the necessity for a blocking-specific tight finish like Jeremy Sprinkle. I’m not totally satisfied they’re going to go this gentle at tight finish, however they could should with the choices that have to be made elsewhere.

Offensive Line: 9

Tyron Smith
Tyler Smith
Tyler Biadasz
Zack Martin
Terence Steele
Josh Ball
Matt Waletzko
Connor McGovern
Matt Farniok

The guess is that Waletzko’s time on the roster shall be short-lived, as he will be moved to injured reserve after closing cuts. Most of that is fairly easy, with McGovern and Farniok every with the ability to put on a number of hats on the inside. 

Keep an eye fixed on the sort out spot. Between Waletzko’s shoulder damage and Ball’s struggles, I feel it is a spot the place the entrance workplace may attempt to both put collectively a commerce, make a waiver declare or signal a veteran.

Defensive Line: 10

DeMarcus Lawrence
Dorance Armstrong
Dante Fowler Jr.
Sam Williams
Osa Odighizuwa
Neville Gallimore
Chauncey Golston
Quinton Bohanna
John Ridgeway
Trysten Hill

When you keep in mind that Micah Parsons and Anthony Barr can each rush the passer, retaining simply 4 defensive ends sounds tremendous doable. 

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Defensive sort out is hard to type out, as quite a lot of these guys have had good camps. It was onerous to not embody Carlos Watkins, however Hill and Bohanna have each had good camps. This is a crew that tends to lean towards its draft picks.

Linebackers: 6

Micah Parsons
Leighton Vander Esch
Anthony Barr
Jabril Cox
Luke Gifford
Devin Harper

About so simple as it will get. Four high quality choices for defensive snaps, with Gifford and Harper each making the lower as core particular teamers and depth defenders.

Defensive Backs: 11

Trevon Diggs
Anthony Brown
Jourdan Lewis
Nahshon Wright
Kelvin Joseph
DaRon Bland
Jayron Kearse
Malik Hooker
Donovan Wilson
Markquese Bell
Israel Mukuamu

This is the place I’m going to cheat, and you’ll’t cease me. Corner feels easy sufficient – three starters and three draft picks for depth. I really consider you’ll be able to write Markquese Bell’s title on this roster in Sharpie, and I’m undecided I’ve ever felt that strongly about an undrafted rookie. 

The again finish of the depth chart is the place it will get enjoyable. I firmly consider that C.J. Goodwin winds up on the roster as a particular groups ace. But he is a vested veteran, which implies he will be lower with out being subjected to waivers and ultimately re-signed. We’ve seen the Cowboys use this loophole earlier than, they usually’ll doubtless do it once more this yr to sneak a teen like Mukuamu onto the roster.

Specialists: 2

Brett Maher
Bryan Anger

Cheating once more. Of course, Jake McQuaide shall be this crew’s lengthy snapper. But the entrance workplace can launch him for twenty-four hours, open up some roster spots with a number of clicks of a button, and convey him again as soon as the Cowboys type out conditions with injured gamers like Washington and Waletzko. 

And sure, for the file, I’m selecting Brett Maher to win the continuing kicker competitors. Again, I lean towards expertise.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports, offering perception and evaluation on the NFL’s most seen franchise. Prior to becoming a member of FOX, David spent 9 seasons masking the Cowboys for the crew’s official web site, In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his function in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” in regards to the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.

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