Probably the most discussed topics among many Cowboys fans these days is the battle for the third wide receiver spot on the Cowboys roster. And early clues to how that battle is shaping up may come from the first official depth chart of the year the Cowboys posted on dallascowboys.com.
The depth chart was released because the League requires all teams to do so in preparation for the upcoming exhibition games. Having said that, keep in mind that the list was probably put together specifically for the Raiders game on Monday so perhaps we shouldn't over-interpret it. At the same time, it may be indicative of the Cowboys' current thought processes, so it is worth a look.
At wide receiver, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are the top receivers at the two wide receiver positions, and they are followed by Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris. Does this mean that Ogletree and Harris are the lead candidates for the 3rd WR spot? Not necessarily, as we'll see after the break.
The initial depth chart was probably put together by the coaches, and they naturally gravitate towards veterans over players with less or no NFL experience - unless a young player truly stands out. That may explain why Ogletree, a three-year veteran and Harris, a one-year veteran are listed as high as they are. The scouts and the front office will also have a say in the final roster, so some of the younger guys currently stuck at the bottom of the depth chart may still be able to move up.
Here's what the full depth chart currently looks like:
|WR||Dez Bryant||Kevin Ogletree||, Donavon Kemp,|
|WR||Miles Austin||Dwayne Harris||,|
|QB||Stephen McGee||Rudy Carpenter|
|RCB||Morris Claiborne||Mario Butler|
|KR||Felix Jones||Raymond Radway||Dwayne Harris|
|PR||Dez Bryant||Dwayne Harris||Akwasi Owusu-Ansah|
Other Notes / Observations from the initial depth chart:
- Going off this list, Danny Coale and Raymond Radway may be fighting it out for the fifth and probably last roster spot at wide receiver.
- Stephen McGee is still listed as the third QB. Early indications from camp are that Carpenter is outplaying McGee, so that listing may change.
- Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau are both listed as the starters at guard, although neither is expected to be ready for the Raiders game, so this likely reflects current thinking as to who will end up being the starters once the season starts.
- Sean Lissemore is listed as a nose tackle and doesn't even show up in the DE list. At the same time, Rob Callaway, who's been taking snaps at nose in camp, is listed as a defensive end. This looks a little odd.
- Victor Butler is listed as the strongside OLB, while he has traditionally seen spot duty on the weak side. Does this mean he's ready to challenge Spencer for playing time?
- As rabblerousr already reported yesterday, Mario Butler and AOA look like the fifth and sixth corners.
- Morris Claiborne is listed behind Orlando Scandrick at right cornerback. I have to assume this is due to Claiborne's injury status. At least I hope so.
- Justin Taplin-Ross appears to have been moved back to safety again, after playing corner for a little while.
- There are already 65 players listed on offense and defense in the First, Second and Third column, and that excludes the three special teamers likely to make the roster. That probably means that very few - if any - of the players marked "Others" will make the team, and that up to 12 players in the column marked "Third" still need to be cut.
Share your thoughts on the depth chart in the comments section. You can also use Coty Saxman's Roster Building Tool to work on building your own 53-man roster. The tool has been updated with the latest info from the depth chart and the most recent transactions. Just click on the button below to launch the Roster Builder.