The Dallas Cowboys’ mandatory minicamps are officially in the books. With the team beginning their quest for a sixth championship, let’s take a look at who has the best chance to make it on the Week One roster in the second Cowboys roster projection.
Dallas Cowboys Roster Projection 2.0
In: Dak Prescott, Mike White
No changes from the original here. Dak Prescott is the unquestioned starter while the battle for the backup position rages on into the summer. Mike White gets the nod for now, but Cooper Rush isn’t out of it by any means. This battle will be decided in the preseason, although the winner ultimately doesn’t matter. Neither player is good enough to captain the Cowboys if something happens to Prescott.
Running Back (4)
In: Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Weber, Tony Pollard, Jamize Olawale
Once again, this is the same as before. Ezekiel Elliott is arguably the best running back in the NFL and will continue to serve as the top option in the Cowboys rushing attack. Mike Weber and Tony Pollard will serve as valuable depth, with Pollard possibly playing a role in the passing game. Jamize Olawale will serve as a valuable lead blocker for anyone in the backfield.
Wide Receiver (6)
In: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Cedric Wilson
Amari Cooper is the star of the show, while Michael Gallup looks to build on a promising rookie season. Randall Cobb is reportedly developing chemistry with Prescott and could be a great add if he can stay healthy. Allen Hurns is working his way back from his gruesome injury, although he could be a cap casualty. Tavon Austin will come back to play his gadget role while Cedrick Wilson rounds out the depth. Noah Brown is the 54th man on the roster and could easily make the team should injury strike any of the other receivers.
Tight End (3)
In: Jason Witten, Dalton Schultz, Blake Jarwin
The Rico Gathers hype train is officially dead. With all the talent on the roster, Dallas cannot justify carrying a fourth tight end. Jason Witten returns to be the starter while Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin serve as the depth. The Cowboys typically like to use four tight ends, but they can simply use Olawale as the fourth tight end as needed.
Offensive Line (9)
In: Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Mitch Hyatt, Connor McGovern, Cameron Fleming, Joe Looney
The starting lineup is set with Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins. Frederick is reportedly working his way back from his nerve condition and should be ready for the start of the season. The rest of the line should combine to form one of the better units in the league.
Mitch Hyatt was the steal of undrafted free agency and could easily begin the year as the top swing tackle. If he’s not ready for the job, then Cameron Fleming proved he can be an adequate backup. Connor McGovern and Joe Looney start the year on the bench, but both are capable of coming in and starting if necessary.
Defensive Line (10)
In: Demarcus Lawrence, Trysten Hill, Antwaun Woods, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins, Taco Charlton, Dorrance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, Tyrone Crawford, Daniel Wise
The Cowboys should have a fantastic front four in Demarcus Lawrence, Trysten Hill, Antwaun Woods, and Robert Quinn. Even if Hill isn’t ready to win the Week One starting job, Maliek Collins is a serviceable starter on the inside. Taco Charlton hasn’t been what the Cowboys expected, but he deserves one more year to turn his career around. Dorrance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, Tyrone Crawford, and Daniel Wise round out the depth, although these players probably won’t see the field with much regularity.
In: Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, Justin March-Lilliard, Christian Covington, Jalen Jenks
Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are the unquestioned starters with Sean Lee remaining as the veteran mentor. Justin March-Lilliard should be the first option off the bench while Christian Covington could be classified as a linebacker or a defensive lineman. Jalen Jenks will play special teams while, in this Cowboys roster projection, Dallas cuts Joe Thomas to gain almost $2 million in cap space.
In: Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Anthony Brown, Michael Jackson
Bryon Jones and Chidobe Awuzie are set to start for the Cowboys, although Jourdan Lewis has a chance to take Awuzie’s spot. Lewis is good when he’s on the field but his undersized frame seems to have the coaches doubting his ability to start. Anthony Brown earns the slot cornerback role while Michael Jackson serves as depth and could even see time at safety.
In: Xavier Woods, George Iloka, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, Donovan Wilson
Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath are still the starters for now, but I’d bet on George Iloka taking a starting spot by September. No matter who earns the starting nods, these three should see the majority of the snaps. Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson are a little redundant, but they’re the best options remaining on the depth chart. While neither player will do much in pass coverage, they’re both stout against the run. That matters when the schedule demands playing Saquon Barkley twice a year.
Special Teams (3)
In: Chris Jones, Brett Maher, L.P. Ladouceur
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