Xavier Woods

Predicting Cowboys 53-man Roster Halfway Through the Preseason

The Dallas Cowboys won their first preseason game in Hawaii, beating the Rams 14-10. Even without some of their biggest names due to injury, injury prevention or holdouts, the Cowboys had some reasons to be happy.

With half the preseason gone, let’s take another stab at predicting the 53-man roster for the Cowboys.

QB – 2: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush

There’s no debate, Rush has won the back-up job and Mike White is basically a camp arm now. White’s final test was with the second-teamers on Saturday night and it was difficult to watch him play. The Cowboys will go with two QB’s to start, maybe they add a third after final cuts across the league, or maybe after the season starts so they don’t guarantee any money, but these two are locked in.

RB – 4: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Alfred Morris, Jamize Olawale

Let’s assume Elliott will eventually show up with a new deal from the Cowboys. Pollard is the change of pace guy, but he’s also impressed enough in camp and proved he can play at a high level to be a real weapon on offense. Morris is the insurance guy and Olawale brings his fullback responsibilities.

WR – 6: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, Devin Smith

This is a deep group and even though we haven’t seen Noah Brown this summer, he offers the team some things as a blocker they love. Austin’s return ability and speed keep him around and Smith’s been impressive of late, edging out Cedric Wilson for the last receiver spot. Let’s assume the Cowboys are going to try to get Wilson on the practice squad to have him ready should anything happen to a WR.

TE – 3: Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz

The Cowboys like to go deep at the position, but they don’t have the players to do it this year. This could be a position where they look for depth at after final cut downs, but they’ll roll with three and Brown can help out because of his toughness.

Offensive line – 9: Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Joe Looney, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Connor McGovern, Cameron Fleming

Not many surprises here, the Cowboys go with nine because they have some lingering health issues and will need to cover themselves in case of injury.

Defensive line – 10* (11 for Quinn suspension): DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Robert Quinn, Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton, Trysten Hill, Antwaun Woods, Kerry Hyder, Joe Jackson, Jalen Jelks*

This is where the toughest cuts will come from, and, possible trades for the Cowboys. They have more than 10 guys and Jelks gets to stay because of the Quinn suspension. What happens after Quinn gets back is anyone’s guess, this is a crazy deep group.

LB – 6: Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Joe Thomas, Justin Phillips, Justin March-Lillard

The top four is set, the decisions will have to be made after the General Lee, Wolf Hunter, the Predator, and Thomas. Phillips showed some great athleticism on his pick against the Rams and March-Lillard brings experience, so he’ll beat out Luke Gifford, whose high ankle sprain might cost him a roster spot.

Secondary – 10: Byron Jones, Chido Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Anthony Brown, Donovan Olumba, C.J. Goodwin, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Donovan Wilson, Kavon Frazier

We could see this being nine instead of 10, but special teams work gives Frazier and Goodwin the edge to make the final 53, as well as nudging out Darian Thompson.

ST – 3: Brett Maher, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur

These three are no secret, however, hopefully, the Cowboys have an eye out on kickers because Maher cannot be trusted.

Final 4 on the roster: Devin Smith, Jalen Jelks, C.J. Goodwin, Justin March-Lillard

Last four out: Cedric Wilson, Darian Thompson, Christian Covington, Ricky Walker

This is a very deep and talented team, cuts will be difficult. The last roster spot or two will come down to keeping an extra WR, defensive lineman or secondary piece. And what happens when Quinn returns, or if Randy Gregory gets reinstated?

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

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