Final 53-man roster projection addresses Cowboys LT issue, depth at WR, DL

The Dallas Cowboys have completed their exhibition schedule and now have until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday to reduce their offseason roster to the regular version. Dallas will have a 53-man roster like all other teams and depending on the decision will have 16 or 17 players practice to form the next day.

Breaking down the current 81-man offseason roster, it looks like the Cowboys have 45 guys who have secured a spot, another six who are more than likely names, and then four players who will be part of a shuffle with an IR return Tuesday into Wednesday. Of the six most likely, these are players who could be involved in trades or swaps with individuals currently identified as practice squad candidates.

In this projection, the Cowboys have eight rookies making the big club with eight more on the practice squad. Of the eight of 53, two are UDFAs while two draft picks end up on the practice squad.

Here’s a full breakdown of what the roster should look like on Tuesday.

Quarterback

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Dak Prescott

It certainly succeeds:

Will Grier

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Cooper Rush

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

Ben DiNucci

Position Notes:

While it appears the Cowboys have decided Rush is Prescott’s backup based on his limited work Friday night, and Grier isn’t taking the job by storm, for some reason I think Grier gets the nod.

Part of that is the club wouldn’t have to protect Rush to get him on the practice squad. The staff has proven they can build a winning gameplan around a limited backup (Rush win over Vikings). Why don’t they feel confident they could do the same with the more athletic Grier?

Running backs

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Ezekiel Elliott
Tony Pollard
Rico Dowdle

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Malik Davis (R)

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

Aaron Champlin (IR)

Cut Cut:

No one

Position Notes:

Shampklin’s injury likely puts him in hiding until 2023 when either Elliott or Pollard could be gone (or both). Davis should be fine to make the practice squad and could easily see action during the season. There was some trepidation knowing that Dallas wants to use Elliott and Pollard extensively to avoid carrying four backs, but Kavontae Turpin is going to take some of the gadget load off Pollard’s plate.

Wide receivers

I’m sure he’s on the team:

CeeDee Lamb
Michael Gallup
Noah Brown
Jalen Tolbert (R)
Kavontae Turpin

It certainly succeeds:

Simi Fehoko

Doing so, but switching to IR:

James Washington

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Dennis Huston (R)
Brandon Smith
TJ Vasher

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

Dontario Drummond

Position Notes:

It’s safe to say Washington is getting the hang of it, though there’s a clear argument to be made for cutting him entirely. I think Dallas can play it safe and his salary isn’t big enough to worry about guaranteeing for the entire season. Honestly Fehoko could be traded for either Houston or Smith, but it looks like he’ll get the nod because of his pedigree.

Tight Ends

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Dalton Schultz
Jake Ferguson (R)
Peyton Hendershot (R)

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Sean McKeon

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

No one

Position Notes:

McKeon seems to be injured all the time, so while he was penciled in as a TE2 to start the offseason, he’s definitely behind Ferguson and now possibly behind Hendershot.

Offensive Line

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Tyler Smith (R)
Connor McGovern
Tyler Biadasz
Zach Martin
Terence Steele
Matt Waletzko (R)
Matt Farniok

It certainly succeeds:

Josh Ball

Doing so, but switching to IR:

Tyrone Smith

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Aviante Collins
Isaac Alarcon
Alec Lindstrom (R)
James Empey (R)

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

Braylon Jones
Amon Simon

Position Notes:

Lots to sort through here.

Tyr. Smith makes the roster but only to be placed on IR. Waletzko has shown better at LT than Josh Ball, and if he isn’t shut down for the year he should be the backup LT. Ball and Collins are really a toss-up for backup right tackle behind Steele.

Tyl. Smith gets the nod as the starting LT here, but that’s only if the Cowboys don’t trade a veteran or sign one of the free agents in the coming days. If that happens, Smith goes back to guard and Ball can be released/sent to PS.

Defensive ends

I’m sure he’s on the team:

DeMarcus Lawrence
Dorrance Armstrong
Sam Williams (R)
Chauncey Golston
Dante Fowler

It certainly succeeds:

Tarell Bassam

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Mika Tafua (R)

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

Big Kay Bryant

Position Notes:

I’ve made the argument several times that it doesn’t make much sense to carry six DEs with Parsons counting as a LB. Bassam feels like the odd man out and the first on the block, either as a trade candidate or a release guy should he find himself out of the bullpen at another position.

Defensive tackles

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Osa Odighizuwa
Neville Gallimore
Quinton Bohanna

It certainly succeeds:

Carlos Watkins
Trysten Hill

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

John Ridgeway (R)
Josiah Bronson

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

No one

Position Notes:

The Cowboys will almost certainly carry four DTs, but they deserve five. That list doesn’t include fifth-round pick out of Arkansas John Ridgeway, who hasn’t been very impressive in his preseason snaps.

Hill could be trade bait, but for now it’s just him and Carlos Watkins.

Line supporters

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Micah Parsons
Anthony Barr
Leighton Vander Esch
Jabrill Cox
Luke Gifford

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Devin Harper (R)
Malik Jefferson

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

Damone Clark (Reserve/NFI)

Cut Cut:

Jackson Floor

Position Notes:

Harper sneaking onto the practice squad could be terrible, but it would be early depth while Clark debuts on time.

Cornerback

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Trevon Diggs
Anthony Brown
Jordan Lewis
DaRon Bland (R)
Nahshon Wright
Kelvin Joseph

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

No one

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

Isaac Taylor-Stuart

Position Notes:

It makes no sense not to carry six CBs as there is literally one backup for each of the three starting positions.

Insurances

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Jayron Kearse
Malik Hooker
Donovan Wilson
Israel Muquamu
Marquese Bell (R)

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

No one

Cut to the practice squad:

Juanyeh Thomas (R)
Tyler Coyle

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

No one

Position Notes:

This is the way. Dallas listed three safety roles on their inaugural unofficial depth chart, so how could they only carry four safeties? Mukwamu and Bell have earned it and the club should have seen enough of Thomas and Coyle to bring them back to the practice squad if they are not in contention.

Special Teams

I’m sure he’s on the team:

Brett Maher
Bryan Anger

It certainly succeeds:

No one

Doing so, but switching to IR:

No one

Cut but come right back:

Jake McQuaid
CJ Goodwin

Cut to the practice squad:

No one

Go to PUP/NFI/IR End Season:

No one

Cut Cut:

No one

Position Notes:

John “Bones” Fassel has four guys on the roster strictly for ST with no other roles…for now. If things fill up, Goodwin could easily end up being an oddball and released if the trade for an outfielder was for a future draft pick instead of a player being traded away.

The story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire

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