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

Offense or Offensive?

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The preseason is officially over and after today’s roster scalping, and by the time you read this the team will have its beloved 53-man roster. If you’re a true fan of this team, you know that this is not the end of player acquisition but the beginning. The reality is all of the starting positions on the team are spoken for and in some areas crowded. As I take a look at the offense and how they will adjust without Romo at the beginning of the season, it’s easy to see that on the offensive side of the ball it’s about finding backup players who will grow in the next sixteen weeks as well as the future. The team will ground and pound defenses allowing Dak Prescott to find his rhythm within the offense.

Currently the Cowboys have five running backs and two fullbacks on the roster. I’m not sure what Jason Garrett’s love affair is with the position but with roster spots needed, I wouldn’t waste one keeping a player that may see the field for five to ten plays a game. At running back the team is stacked (Elliott, Morris, Jackson, Dunbar and McFadden) which in my opinion is two more than they need. It will be interesting to see how the position is handled. Elliott and Morris are set and I believe that Darius Jackson has done enough to make the team. Lance Dunbar is a bit of an enigma, he has a certain skill set that Linehan is in love with and gives the offense a scat back player that can give a defense fits. The problem with Dunbar is that he’s had a hard time staying healthy and as the saying goes, you can’t make the club in the tub, so see ya and I wouldn’t want to be ya.

Darren McFadden is currently on the NFI list which would make him unavailable for the first six weeks of the season and the rumor is that he may stay there which would give the team an extra roster spot but the other option would be to trade him for a mid-round pick to a needy team which would be my decision. Thank you Mr. McFadden but your services are no longer needed.

There has been a lot of attention around the tight-end position and most of it has to do with Gavin Escobar. Escobar was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft and for the most part has been a disappointment. I’m not sure if it’s because of skill set, unfair expectations or improper use but going into his fourth year you would expect him to have more than 26 catches for 303 yards for a twelve yard average. With James Hanna starting the season on PUP the team needs someone to replace the blocking that he provided and everyone knows that’s not Escobar’s strong point. Geoff Swaim had a good camp overall and is a willing blocker but is still wet behind the ears and i’m not sure when it comes down to it they will trust him. Although Austin Traylor has garnered some attention it’s highly unlikely that he makes it on the 53 man roster and at this point Rico Gathers is nothing more than a possible practice squad player. In the Texans game, Escobar was playing which could be taken as a bad sign but I would be shocked if they decide to cut the cord due to his experience within the offense. If I was a betting man, Escobar’s spot on the team should be safe and sound.

Watching these preseason games it has become apparent the team has depth issues on the offensive line, specifically at tackle. We know the starting five is above-average outside of turnstile Doug Free but it’s a shame that for the last two years the team has not bought in a little competition for him. Before you jump down my throat, I know about Chaz Green who was a third round pick last year from Florida who lost the majority of his rookie season due to injury, returning by the end of the year. After a full offseason with the team, I expected him to come in ready to earn his check and for the most part he’s been consistent but not in a good way. Green will make the team due to his draft position and let’s hope he can stay off the field this season so that he can continue to grow. Don’t be surprised if the team finds another player to compete with him. The best part about this line is that they have position flex with Zack Martin and La’el Collins both playing tackle in their college careers and at times I have wondered if they made a mistake by not letting Collins take Free’s spot at right tackle allowing Ron Leary to play guard, which would keep your best five players on the field.

Dez Bryant is back and looking to reclaim his spot as a top five receiver in the league and he shouldn’t have a problem doing that even without Romo. Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler and Lucky Whitehead round out the wide receiver group. This group can be dynamic if everyone stays healthy and that’s a big IF. Justin Hunter was released by the Titans and I can admit that I would see if he can give me what Whitehead does in the lineup.

The wait is over! In nine days and counting, your Dallas Cowboys will take the field against the Giants. Let’s hope there are no roster surprises.

So Mote It Be!