Early 53 Man Roster Prediction – Pre-Training Camp

We are just a few days removed from the 2017 NFL Draft and the Cowboys will have plenty of new faces around The Star when OTA’s and Training Camp roll around. When you look at all the guys the Cowboys lost in Free- Agency then the players they brought in in Free Agency, all the guys the Cowboys drafted, and all the Undrafted Free-Agents the Cowboys signed after the draft this 53-Man roster will look a lot different than it did this time last year.

  1. QB – Dak Prescott
  2. QB – Kellen Moore
  3. QB – Cooper Rush
  4. RB – Ezekiel Elliott
  5. RB – Darren McFadden
  6. RB – Alfred Morris
  7. WR – Dez Bryant
  8. WR- Terrance Williams
  9. WR – Cole Beasley
  10. WR – Ryan Switzer
  11. WR – Brice Butler
  12. WR – Noah Brown
  13. TE – Jason Witten
  14. TE – Geoff Swaim
  15. TE – Rico Gathers
  16. OT – Tyron Smith
  17. OT – Emmett Cleary
  18. OG – Zack Martin
  19. OG – La’el Collins
  20. OC – Travis Fredrick
  21. OG – Jonathan Cooper
  22. OT – Chaz Green
  23. OT – Byron Bell
  24. FB – Keith Smith
  25. DL – David Irving
  26. DL – Tyrone Crawford
  27. DE – Charles Tapper
  28. DT – Cedric Thornton
  29. DT – Stephen Paea
  30. DT – Maliek Collins
  31. DT – Joey Ivie
  32. DE – Demarcus Lawrence
  33. DE – Taco Charlton
  34. DE – Benson Mayowa
  35. LB – Damien Wilson
  36. LB – Kyle Wilber
  37. LB – Jaylon Smith
  38. LB – Anthony Hitchens
  39. LB – Sean Lee
  40. LB – Mark Nzeocha
  41. S – Byron Jones
  42. S – Xavier Woods
  43. S – Jeff Heath
  44. S – Kavon Fraizer
  45. CB – Anthony Brown
  46. CB – Orlando Scandrick
  47. CB – Chidobe Awuzie
  48. CB – Jourdan Lewis
  49. CB – Nolan Carroll
  50. CB – Marquez White
  51. K – Dan Bailey
  52. P – Chris Jones
  53. LS – L.P. Ladouceur

The Draft Picks:

 Taco Charlton, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Ryan Switzer, and Xavier Woods will all be walk in contributors right away and I wouldn’t rule out all of the defensive players being starters or battling for a starting position right away. Charlton is likely the starting Right Defensive End, Chidobe Awuzie may be the starting Nickle Corner and play the boundary as well, and Jourdan Lewis will see a large workload right away in the Nickle and on the outside. Xavier Woods has competition but has the potential to let Byron Jones slide into the Strong Safety role and really allow him to play in coverage on tight ends and chase the football closer to the line of scrimmage. Ryan Switzer the Cowboys 4th round pick will unseat  Lucky Whitehead as the teams returner and I can see him having a big role on offense as a rookie.

In addition to these five guys I currently have Joey Ivie, Noah Brown, and Marquez White making the 53 man roster. Ivie is a penetrating defensive tackle that made more plays on film than you would expect from a 7th round pick. Ivie won’t be the most athletic guy in the meeting rooms but has a high  motor and uses his hands and arms to win with swims, swats, and bull rushes. Ivie is actually one of my favorite players the Cowboys drafted after diving in to more of his film. Noah Brown is a high ceiling receiver that really shouldn’t have been available in the 7th round. Brown is a big boy at 6’2 222lbs and style of play is a lot like Dez Bryant. Brown isn’t going to out run you and isn’t the most crisp route runner but he his a red zone nightmare with his physical style of play and blocks extremely well for a receiver. Marquez White will be in a training camp battle for the 6th Cornerback spot on the roster with Leon McFadden. White does not have the ideal size or athletic ability but has very good instincts and has an eye for the football. White is more so of a project than anything but has more than enough redeeming traits and is competitive enough to win that 6th Cornerback job in Training Camp.

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 The Free Agents:

Nolan Carroll, Damontre Moore, Byron Bell and Stephen Paea were the big name Free Agents that were brought in to bolster this Cowboys roster. Nolan Carroll will likely be a day one starting Corner but has a lot of competition behind him that will push him early. Damontre Moore is another guy who was brought in that isn’t guaranteed a roster spot. Moore has a lot of potential and has shown inconsistent flashes throughout his NFL career. If he does happen to put it all together Moore may be in the running for a roster spot, if not I have a hard time seeing him make the roster in a already crowded defensive line room. Byron Bell and Stephen Paea will likely be in Training Camp battles to win a starting spot. Bell will be looking to win the starting Right Tackle spot from Chaz Green and Stephen Paea and Cedric Thornton will slug it out to win the starting One-Technique Defensive Tackle job. None of the Free Agents brought in are game changing type of players but a few of them will win starting roles and a few of them will provide quality depth at their positions.

The Undrafted:

I see one guy who sticks out to me in this Undrafted Free Agent Class that I could see making a case for the 53 Man Roster. That guy is Quarterback Cooper Rush out of Central Michigan. Rush has a lot of developing to do but I could see him being a very good back up Quarterback in the NFL. Rush lacks athletic ability and arm strength to be anything more than a backup in the NFL but does make up for that by being very smart on the field with reading defenses and making good decisions. The Cowboys currently only have Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore as their Quarterbacks on the roster so adding a third guy is something I think they will look to do. Rush is young and has traits in his game that leads me to believe he could win that job.

The Summary:

When you look at the additions the Cowboys made in this off season you notice a completely rebuilt secondary. Time will tell whether they are improved from last years group but in my mind that position upgraded the talent level tremendously between bringing in Nolan Carroll via Free Agency and spending almost half of their draft picks on Defensive Backs. The Defensive Line in my opinion is still average at best. We still have yet to see what Charles Tapper, Damontre Moore, or Taco Charlton can add to the pass rush but I don’t see it being game changing. To me this Defensive Line will continue to be stout against the run and struggle to pressure opposing QB’s. Time will tell, and with Training Camp and OTA’s right around the corner we will find out sooner rather than later. Either way it looks to be very exciting time for Cowboys Nation as the youth movement has officially taken over.

Got a Lot to Say From RVA – Follow me on Twitter- @connorx147

Ideal Dallas Cowboys Offseason Scenario 1.0

Free Agency is underway and the Cowboys are likely going to stay in the wait and see role that they usually spend their time in every free agency period. But there is a scenario that I believe can upgrade the Cowboys roster that involves little money used in free agency. The Cowboys currently have roughly 8.5 million dollars in cap space after the restructure of Sean Lee’s contract. That is not a great spot to be in but they can make a couple of decent moves on that deal.

 

Re-Sign

Brandon Carr – With both Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr free agents one of the two will have to come back. Carr is likely the cheaper option and the more reliable option. I could see the Cowboys offering Carr a one or two year deal worth two to three million dollars. Signing Carr back gives the Cowboys a starting cornerback lineup to start the season with before even heading into the draft.

Kellen Moore – This isn’t a sexy signing but it is one that fills a hole in the Cowboys roster. Moore is very smart football player that does’t possess the physical tools to be much more than a backup in the NFL. Perfect spot for a Quarterback that will cost little to nothing that can be a great mentor for your second year QB.

J.J. Wilcox – I know I know, some people would rather have me at Safety rather than Wilcox but the truth is J.J. was one of best role players the Cowboys had on their defense last season. Wilcox fixed his sloppy tackling problem and the horrendous angles he used to use on ball carriers in open space, but after cleaning up his game in his fourth year the Cowboys could use the experience at the safety position. With the signing of Wilcox it leaves Dallas with Jeff Heath (the teams interception leader), second year player Kavon Frazier, and starting Free Safety Byron Jones.

Darren McFadden – McFadden also is not a sexy signing but with Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris the only backs currently on the roster they must sign a veteran back. While McFadden doesn’t do anything great, he does almost everything well. McFadden can run and catch the ball out of the backfield and is a guy you can trust to protect your QB in the backfield. McFadden is another guy who isn’t going to make you break the bank. Bringing Darren back on a short term team friendly deal makes to much sense for both parties.

 

Missed The Cut

Terrell McClain – Reason? – Money.

Jack Crawford – Reason? Need more than just a body.

Morris Claiborne – Reason? Inability to stay healthy and money.

Barry Church – Reason? Money.

Ron Leary – Reason? Money.

Terrance Williams – Reason? Money.

Brice Butler – Inconsistency at the position

Barry Church

Roster Cuts


Tony Romo
– Reason? – Size of contract, relationship with ownership that wants the best for their former starter, to expensive to be backup. Cutting Romo saves the Cowboys around 5.1 million dollars.

Alfred Morris – Reason? Morris was a great player for Washington in his prime but after a disappointing season as the back up to Zeke, the Cowboy should do  Alfred and themselves a favor by moving on from Morris. Cutting Morris saves the Cowboys a little more than 1 million dollars.

 

Free Agency Signings

Demarcus Ware – A familiar face that Dallas has missed since his departure. Ware with his age and injury history will likely not draw as much interest or money as he did when he initially left Dallas. With Ware not having to many years left in him coming back to the team he started his Hall of Fame career at on a one year 2 million dollar deal.

Signing the four guys back from their 2016 season roster and adding Ware would put them right at their cap limit going into the draft. Dallas will likely have a little spare change left to maybe throw at a veteran Linebacker or Offensive Lineman.

Going into the draft in this scenario makes the defensive line not AS MUCH of a need. You have your starting left end in Demarcus Lawrence and your starting right end in Demarcus Ware. Inside you have both Malik Collins and Cedric Thornton as your starting defensive tackles. In this scenario you will also have David Irving and Tyrone Crawford as your hybrid backups. This is where both players versatility really helps you out on game-days. Both Irving and Crawford can back up both the left end position and the defensive tackle position. That leaves Benson Mayowa and Charles Tapper at your back ups at right end. With your starting front seven looking like Demarcus Ware, Maliek Collins, Thornton, Lawrence as your defensive line and the starting linebackers looking like Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson. The Dallas secondary is semi set with Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Anthony Brown as your starting Cornerbacks with Byron Jones as your starting Free Safety and J.J. Wilcox penciled in as your starting Strong Safety. Let’s Draft!

In the first round the Cowboys need to address the Wide Receiver position with Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Lucky Whitehead, and Andy Jones looking to be the only receivers on the active roster. Luckily for the Cowboys the new 40 yard dash record holder should be hanging on by a thread at their selection. The Cowboys select former Washington Huskie John Ross III with the 28th pick in the draft. Ross is a speed demon that can run impressive routes to match with that record setting speed. Ross will fit in great as a “Z” receiver in Dallas fitting the mold the Cowboys usually like in their number #2 guy.

With Cornerback looking like the biggest need in the second round the Cowboys grab a really good player here with former UCLA Bruin Fabian Moreau. Moreau lasting to the 56th overall pick would be a dream come true for the Cowboys but I think its possible. When you have a CB class like this years instead of all the talent going off the board at once sometimes you’ll have great corners fall to the second or third rounds, the reason being is when teams see they have a cornerback class with this much depth they seem to wait and pick a player that’s just as good as one of the “top dogs” with their second or third pick. With guys like Marshon Lattimore, Jalen Tabor, Tre White, and Sidney Jones getting a lot of the attention guys like Fabian Moreau, Gareon Conley , Chidobe Awuzie, and Kevin King have a chance to fall.

With your starting offense pretty much set and the defense getting their this third round selection is important. Dallas grabs underrated Defensive End Joe Mathis out of Washington with their third round selection. Mathis has all the tools to be able to be a very productive player in the NFL. Mathis can play the run well while setting a very physical edge which he can also win with speed. Mathis uses his hands well to punch and swipe blockers hands in order to get to the QB. Pairing an inexperienced but really talented pass rusher with Demarcus Ware to mentor in his final year in the league could work wonders for the future of the Cowboys rushmen.

With both the offense and defense looking a lot stronger now in my opinion the Cowboys take their yearly “redshirt” player in round four with Linebacker Kendell Beckwith out of LSU. Beckwith is a really intriguing player three down player at LSU and looks to be just that in the NFL. Beckwith is a quick footed tackling machine that seems to always be around the ball. A player with his ability shouldn’t be available in the fourth round but after tearing his ACL just a few months ago the former Tiger standout may miss at least the majority of his rookie season.

THE COWBOYS DO NOT HAVE A FIFTH ROUND PICK.

Entering the sixth round you start to look at guys who have traits that could potentially be developed into a good player. In the sixth round Dallas can add just that in Offensive Tackle Aviante Collins out of TCU. Collins blew up the combine posting the best 40 time out of all the offensive linemen. Collins at 6-4, 295 pounds put up 34 reps on the bench press (225lbs) and ran a eye popping 4.81 40 yard dash. Collins doesn’t have the ideal body for a Tackle but with how explosive he looked at the Combine he is certainly intriguing this late in the Draft.

Dallas has two seventh round picks in this years draft, both of them will be spent on offense. Chad Kelley former Ole Miss Quarterback will be the first of the two picks. Kelly is a really intriguing player. Kelly is a great athlete with an absolute cannon for an arm. Kelly knows how to make plays with his feet and has the ideal size you look for in a pocket passer. Kelly has his fair share of off the field issues and makes plenty of questionable decisions but has the arm talent and athleticism to make the late round pick worth it for a team that struck gold with their “project” quarterback in last years draft.

With the Cowboys final draft pick they will spend it on a Running Back. Teriyon Gipson out of New Mexico is the selection. Gipson fits the Lance Dunbar role perfectly and that is a role that will need to be filled with Dunbar’s departure. Gipson is lighting in a bottle that will run around you, past you, and even through you for a guy that is only 5’9 190 pounds. Gipson has smooth hands out of the backfield and can fit in on special teams to as a returner or a gunner.

 

After it’s all said and done if this scenario that I laid out for you goes as planned the Cowboys 53 man roster could look a little something like this:

  1. Dak Prescott
  2. Kellen Moore
  3. Chad Kelly
  4. Ezekiel Elliott
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Teriyon Gipson
  7. Keith Smith
  8. Dez Bryant
  9. Cole Beasley
  10. John Ross III
  11. Lucky Whitehead
  12. Andy Jones
  13. Jason Witten
  14. James Hanna
  15. Geoff Swaim
  16. Tyron Smith
  17. La’el Collins
  18. Travis Fredrick
  19. Zack Martin
  20. Doug Free
  21. Chaz Greeb
  22. Joe Looney
  23. Emmett Cleary
  24. Demarcus Ware
  25. Demarcus Lawrence
  26. Malik Collins
  27. Cedric Thornton
  28. Benson Mayowa
  29. Charles Tapper
  30. Tyrone Crawford
  31. David Irving
  32. Joe Mathis
  33. Sean Lee
  34. Jaylon Smith
  35. Damien Wilson
  36. Mark Nzeocha
  37. Anthony Hitchens
  38. Kyle Wilber
  39. Brandon Carr
  40. Orlando Scandrick
  41. Anthony Brown
  42. Fabian Moreau
  43. Byron Jones
  44. Jeff Heath
  45. Kavon Frazier
  46. J.J. Wilcox
  47. Chris Jones
  48. Dan Bailey
  49. L.P Ladouceur
  50. Aviante Collins
  51. Leon McFadden
  52. Kendell Beckwith
  53. Richard Ash

 

No one can see into the future, but this plan allows them to stay within their budget in free agency and really maximize the “best player available” situation when entering the draft. Comments welcomed!

Got a Lot to Say From RVA – Follow me on Twitter- @connorx147

Swoop Who?

The Eagles fly into Dallas on Sunday night to prove that they belong in the conversation for the NFC East championship. Head Coach Doug Pederson and his offense has not been as impressive as you would think considering that he’s been tied to Andy Reid’s hip for the last seven years before being hired to save the Eagles from Chip Kelly’s massive failure. Kelly’s time in Philly was a blessing for Cowboys fans because he stripped them of all of their talent (LeSean McCoy, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin) all while amassing a 27-21 record in three seasons. Chip also signed Demarco Murray and Kiko Alonso and those proved to be bad fits for the organization. Pederson has his quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz at the most important position in football so if he can surround him with more explosive players, he should see the end of his contract.

The Eagles will have to find a way to move the ball on the Cowboys defense and they most likely will start on the ground. Ryan Matthews has been a disappointment this year only averaging 3.9 yards a carry on 67 attempts for 262 yards. Darren Sproles has a 4.6 yard average but he’s not going to carry the ball consistently but where he will hurt you is catching passes out of the backfield and on flare routes. Sproles has seventeen catches on the season for 210 yards and doesn’t seem to be slowing down at 33 years old. Jordan Matthews leads the Eagles receivers with 25 receptions for 354 yards and two touchdowns and only has three drops for the season which has been one of his achilles heels since entering the league. Nelson Agholor hasn’t lived up to the expectations placed on him when the Eagles drafted him in the first round last year and they added another player in Dorial Green-Beckham who has been a disappointment.

The Cowboys have been dealing with alot of confusion about their offense and it’s not gotten better since Romo decided to wear a practice jersey and start slinging passes like government cheese. I’m not here to argue who should be starting or not but I will hold Jason Garrett responsible for his decision. If you were to ask me my opinion on the quarterback position, I would definitely give it to you but I am not a coach nor have I seen practices on a weekly basis. The reality is that this is a division game that is high on emotions and tape. If you haven’t realized that games that are played within your division are close, I do not know what to say. The reality is that Eli Manning is the elder statesman in the NFC East and with the weapons that he has, it’s hard to bet against him. The Eagles are a team with a strong defensive line that is coached by Jim Schwartz who is a solid defensive coordinator. If you want me to be completely honest, I was hoping that Jason Garrett would have fired Rod Marinelli for him. You can’t ignore that he is a top defensive coordinator that has been able to get production from the players on his side of the ball. The defensive side of this team hasn’t allowed a lot points and this game will not be different. Ezekiel Elliot has been on a tear and it’s not going to end there and i expect the score to be over 45 points with a solid showing with the special teams scoring at least ten points with field goals by Dan Bailey being the difference.

The Cowboys will win this game with the running game and play action passing being the key to victory for the team. I expect the Cowboys to try and keep the ball away from the Eagles like they’ve done the whole season against teams. Ezekiel Elliott will run for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles front seven. I am hoping that Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan limit Dak Prescott to no more than 20 attempts in this game because Malcolm Jenkins is an opportunistic ball hawk and I can see the Eagles blitzing Prescott trying to get him to make a mistake. Everyone is talking about how Zack Martin is having an all-pro season and I couldn’t agree more but he will earn his lunch by blocking Fletcher Cox for sixty minutes and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cox going against Ron Leary to see if there are chinks in his armor. Jason Witten has traditionally had big games against the Eagles but I am worried that we are seeing a decline in his play which would make resigning him a question mark as we move forward.

My pick for this game is the Cowboys winning a close one 21-17 with Ezekiel Elliott having two touchdowns, one on the ground and one receiving. Prescott will throw another pick and the Romo countdown will begin. It’s been an interesting year as a Cowboys fan so far. Walking around my city with apparel on, the first thing that people have asked me “Is Romo coming back” and “why ruin a good thing once it’s rolling”. The reality is that Romo should play once he comes back and the reason behind that thought process is that you have to know what you’re working with for the 2017 season. There is no way a big decision that will have ramifications on the teams future salary cap be made without seeing a sample of Romo’s play.

I hope that the Jones brain trust have learned a lesson about refinancing players contracts for the future. There is a need to have smarter decisions on signing players because we have seen the team overpay for poor performances and mortgage the future for short term happiness. GYST Jerry!