Lately, I have been running into a weird form of Dallas Cowboys cosmic convergence. I get an idea for a post, and then I run across the same idea out there in the "real" media. The other day, it was looking at the issue of what to do about the third quarterback. I decided to do the topic, then went trolling for some possible backup information - and found two articles published just hours before on exactly the same thing. I decided to go ahead and write my take, since I felt I could do as good a job and go more in-depth, and got the bonus of being able to quote the articles to support my position, since the other writers (Nick Eatman and - gulp - Calvin Watkins) had nearly identical conclusions to mine.
Well, it happened again. Only this time, I got there first by almost a week. I wrote a few days back about which Dallas Cowboys I felt were most likely to be on the dreaded bubble to make the 53-man roster this year. And today, when I sat down to figure out what would be a good topic for a post to entertain and enlighten the BTB faithful, I saw that Josh Ellis of DallasCowboys.com had just written his own piece on the same thing. So I decided to take a look at what he came up with so I could compare my thoughts to his.
Hey, when an idea like this falls into your lap, you jump on it like DeMarcus Ware on a cringing quarterback.
See how the big time media guy sees things after the jump.
Ellis did take a little different route to get to his. He extracted this from a top-to-bottom ranking of all 90 of the players currently on the Dallas roster. That ranking is going to be published in the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine training camp preview magazine, so to see the entire list, you will have to find one or subscribe. Out of that, he picked nineteen that were close to the magic 53 number and put them up on the mothership.
Just to save you having to click back and forth between articles, here is the list I came up with (in no particular order):
One difference in our approaches is that I considered only veterans. Ellis looked at everyone, so he has included some of the rookies that will be pushing the veterans for their jobs.
Here is his list:
40. DE Kenyon Coleman
41. DE Marcus Spears
42. WR Danny Coale
43. TE James Hanna
44. WR Dwayne Harris
45. DE Clifton Geathers
46. WR Cole Beasley
47. QB Stephen McGee
48. WR Kevin Ogletree
49. P Chris Jones
50. WR Andre Holmes
51. C/G Bill Nagy
52. G/T Pat McQuistan
53. RB Phillip Tanner
54. OLB Alex Albright
55. G David Arkin
56. ILB Orie Lemon
57. ILB Caleb McSurdy
58. C/G Kevin Kowalski
Well, Except for Mike Jenkins, who is, I think, a bit of a special case (in a childish, tantrum-throwing way), and Brodney Pool, he agrees with my list. I don't know if that increases my credibility or decreases his, but it is kind of nice to know I am not the only one who thinks this way.
To be honest, I not only agree with him on the names, but I rather like his order. A few observations about it:
By process of elimination, I think he is figuring on an offensive line consisting of tackles Tyron Smith, Doug Free, and Jermey Parnell, with Nate Livings, Phil Costa, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary plus three or four of the names on this list. I would be very surprised to see any of them at 59 or below.
The Coleman/Spears/Geathers grouping is very tight. I disagree a bit in that I think Geathers actually is leading this group due to age and contract considerations, but if this list holds, all three make it - and I am left wondering who is ahead of the bubble on Ellis' list, and how many DL the team will actually have. I think at least one of these three, and possibly two, will fall below the cutoff point - and as I indicated, I don't think Geathers will.
Having both Lemon and McSurdy below the cutoff also seems a bit inaccurate, since I think one of the two will be on the team, being the top contenders for the fourth ILB position. Another option is Albright, who has been talked about as being able to play inside as well as outside, but I think his position is just about as perfect as you can get. I see him as one of the very last decisions made by the team, so he is literally teetering on the edge.
The battle at wide receiver is going to be pretty epic. Judging by this, the only wideouts he sees as being definite are the big two, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. With five showing on the bubble here (Coale, Harris, Beasley, Ogletree and Holmes), at least one of these guys will fall out of the 53, and two is possible if not probable. I do think Holmes is ranked too low, and Harris a bit high based on what I have seen in the coverage of the OTA and minicamp practices. But I do think it is down to these five, unless someone else picks it up a lot.
A few names I am curious about that did not show up here, in addition to Jenkins and Pool: Isaac Madison, Lionel Smith, Lance Dunbar, Danny McCray, Mario Butler, and Barry Church. I wonder which of those names are higher than this list, and which are below? I'm betting McCray and Church are definitely above this list, Madison and Butler are likely, and Smith and Dunbar are just a few names below this.
But those are largely quibbles. Obviously Ellis and I see things in very similar ways. And as a guide for camp battles to watch closely, his list of names is not a bad place to start.