With training camp now in full swing and the Hall of Fame game in our rear view mirror, it is time for version 2.0 of our 53 man roster projection. There are quite a few changes from the initial version that came out over a month ago. As always feel free to voice your approval or disagreements in the comments or on Twitter @Tigga11 or @cover32_DAL.
Quarterback (3) – Dak Prescott, Kellen Moore, Luke McCown
Right off the bat there is a change from the initial projection. By signing Luke McCown the Cowboys now possibly have two viable backups to Dak Prescott. Keeping McCown is a shot in the dark at this point, seeing as how he has yet to even take a snap for Dallas. However that should change after this Saturday’s second preseason game. If McCown proves to have little or nothing left in the tank, Kellen Moore’s Hall of Fame game performance should make fans feel a bit more comfortable about the QB2 situation.
Running Back (4) – Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Rod Smith, Keith Smith
What ever game the NFL is playing concerning the Ezekiel Elliott investigation has to be nearing a close. Obviously if Elliott is suspended this projection is completely turned upside-down. For arguments sake, say he is not suspended, once that news comes down from the league office I would expect the Cowboys to actively try and trade Alfred Morris. Dallas clearly thinks of McFadden as their RB2, while the Smith duo continues to earn their spots through their impressive play on the field.
Wide Receiver (5) – Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, Brice Butler
Initially Noah Brown made the final cut, but he was not so lucky this time. Brown needs to flash a bit more over the next four preseason games if he wants to stick around on the 53. The practice squad seems like a more realistic option at this point in time. Ryan Switzer should see his first game action this weekend as he is back practicing in full after a hamstring injury sidelined him last week. Brice Butler continues his outstanding play and has all but locked up a roster spot.
Tight End (4) – Jason Witten, Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim, James Hanna
The Senator enters his 15th season still going strong. Rico Gathers had a nice Hall of Fame game, but as Coach Garrett said, Gathers has come a long way and still has a long way to go. He has however done enough to warrant a spot on the 53 – as if anything else a deadly redzone weapon.
Offensive Line (9) – Tyron Smith, Jonathan Cooper, Travis Fredrick, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Byron Bell, Chaz Green, Joe Looney, Emmett Cleary
Kept things the same as the first version here. Tyron Smith’s back stiffness is slowly becoming a bigger concern than initially thought, so adequate depth here is a priority. Jonathan Cooper and Byron Bell have been splitting first team reps at left guard over the past few days, as no clear frontrunner has emerged.
The Latest: Packers release troubled, DT, Letroy Guion
What’s Trending: Jets’ DE, Sheldon Richardson, takes shots at Brandon Marshall
Looking Ahead: Patriots’ offense set up well for QB transition after 2018
Game Preview: Preseason Week 1: Bears vs Broncos game preview
Defensive Line (10) – Taco Charlton, Benson Mayowa, Tyrone Crawford, Demarcus Lawrence, Charles Tapper, Maliek Collins, Cedric Thornton, Stephen Paea, David Irving*(Richard Ash), Damontre Moore*(Lewis Neal)
With no dominate pass rusher anywhere in sight, Dallas will need to rely on waves of fresh bodies to generate their sacks and pressures. Keeping ten players allows the coaching staff to do just that. Tyrone Crawford’s ankle injury seems to be less severe than originally thought, and should be ready for the season opener. David Irving and Damontre Moore will be suspended to start the year, resulting in Richard Ash and Lewis Neal occupying their roster spot.
Linebacker (6) – Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Kyle Wilber, Justin Durant
The signing of Justin Durant gives the Cowboys solid depth at the position, as I only had five players worth keeping in the last version. While I anticipated them signing someone, I had thoughts of Daryl Washington. Never the less Durant has had two previous stints with Dallas and knows what is expected of him in this defense. Jaylon Smith also appears set to see game action very soon. Recent tests on Smith’s knee showed he will now have near 100% regeneration of his nerve in 6-9 months.
Cornerback (5) – Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis
Expect Nolan Carroll to receive a short suspension from the league due to his DUI arrest this summer. With Carroll sidelined the Cowboys could keep rookie Marquez White as a place holder until Carroll returns. Reports out of camp are that Orland Scandrick is the #32 of old after struggling through injuries last season. Speaking of injuries, both Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis have been sidelined with hamstring issues.
Safety (4) – Bryon Jones, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier
Byron Jones continues to improve every day and should be the leader of the Cowboys secondary this year. The starting safety spot alongside of him however still remains a bit of a question mark. Veteran Robert Blanton is also a candidate to stick depending on how Woods and Frazier look the rest of the preseason.