Dallas keeps churning the roster -- to get ahead of the curve

The process of building an NFL roster is a never-ending one.

Here was the front page BTB post on Dallas's "final" 53-man pre-season roster. Since then, 7 guys have been cut, traded, put on IR, or let go via injury settlement: Dante Rosario, Nate Livings, Anthony Spencer, Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen, and Eric Frampton. In their place, we have Brian Waters, Caesar Rayford, Edgar Jones, Drake Nevis, David Carter, Kyle Bosworth, and Chris Greenwood. Here's an overview.

"Final 53" Current roster - where different
QB Tony Romo
QB Kyle Orton
RB DeMarco Murray
RB Lance Dunbar
RB Phillip Tanner
RB Joseph Randle
WR Dez Bryant
WR Miles Austin
WR Terrance Williams
WR Dwayne Harris
WR Cole Beasley
TE Jason Witten
TE James Hanna
TE Gavin Escobar
TE Dante Rosario Traded to Chicago for draft pick
TE Andre Smith
OT Tyron Smith
OT Doug Free
OT Jermey Parnell
OT Darrion Weems
OG Ronald Leary
OG Mackenzy Bernadeau
OG David Arkin
OG Nate Livings Brian Waters (Livings to IR - injury settlement)
C Travis Frederick
C Phil Costa
DE Demarcus Ware
DE Anthony Spencer Caesar Rayford (Spencer IR)
DE Kyle Wilber
DE George Selvie
DE Edgar Jones
DT Jason Hatcher
DT Nick Hayden
DT Sean Lissemore Drake Nevis (Lissemore traded for draft pick)
DT Ben Bass David Carter (Bass to IR)
DT Landon Cohen Cut
LB Sean Lee
LB Bruce Carter
LB Justin Durant
LB Ernie Sims
LB DeVonte Holloman
LB Kyle Bosworth
CB Brandon Carr
CB Morris Claiborne
CB Orlando Scandrick
CB BW Webb
CB Chris Greenwood
S Barry Church
S Will Allen
S JJ Wilcox
S Danny McCray
S Eric Frampton Cut
S Jeff Heath
PK Dan Bailey
P Chris Jones
LS LP Ladouceur

What to make of this churning?

The loss of Spencer to IR is certainly the most unfortunate development. But Dallas already had Plan B firmly in place, with George Selvie, and since the 53 man roster was set, they've added two more pieces in Caesar Rayford and Edgar Jones. It will be interesting to see how these three guys perform over the year. They are all much younger, and Selvie and Rayford are both taller and heavier than Spencer. With Crawford and Bass coming off injury to add to the mix, it no longer seems critical for Dallas to invest all of next year's draft on the D line.

On the inside of the D line, Dallas has also added two new bodies since the 53-man roster was "final" -- Drake Nevis and David Carter. Nevis is certainly someone to get excited about, given his performance as a quick-twitch tackle at LSU. I wonder if he isn't the true replacement for Jay Ratliff coming a year early. And what kind of potential does David Carter have?

The signing of Brian Waters has certainly upgraded the guard position, We now have 3 new starters on the inside, and potentially a line that might stay together for a couple of years. Even though he's 36, I can envision Waters sticking around on a year-by-year basis as long as he's able to produce. That would give Dallas time to draft and train up a new guard.

The other intriguing signing is Chris Greenwood. Tall and fast, but from a small school and coming off injuries, he's not going to be ready to start soon, but he gives Dallas a big backup CB that they don't have in Scandrick and Webb.

Finally, Kyle Bosworth just seems like a special teams guy, but that has value in itself.

What's noteworthy is that Dallas seems to be almost ahead of the curve on its roster, rather than behind it. Let's take a new look at all the position groups.

QB -- Great starter, solid veteran backup. Will need a cheaper backup than Orton soon, and perhaps Romo's eventual replacement within a couple of years, but this seems very solid for at least 2 years.

WR -- Great starters, young depth. Dez is a monster, Austin can still bring it, Williams is developing, Harris gives you great special teams play, and Beasley is a good role player. One of the best groups on the team.

TE -- Great #1, young depth. Witten may be slowing, but can still get open. The TD to Escobar gives a glimpse of how he might be used. Hanna remains a mystery. Smith provides blocking. Another deep group.

RB -- Very good #1, young depth. Can Murray torch anyone but the Rams? He needs to be more consistent. Still haven't seen Dunbar utilized -- that's on Callahan. Randle in the wings lets you sleep better. Good enough to win now.

OL -- A solid, improving line. With 3 new interior starters, a rejuvenated RT, and a 22-year-old stud LT, this group could start to jell and give the Cowboys a chance to win every game. Best line since 2007, and it's on the upswing, not the downslope.

DL -- Rod's Rushmen are the core of the D. The two most encouraging things about the Cowboys this year are the offensive and defensive lines. Against the Giants and Rams, they clearly won in the trenches on both sides. It was a closer fight against the Chiefs. Rod's Rushmen, even without Spencer and Ratliff, have been a marvel to behold. We now BELIEVE that Rod will take the new guys he's been provided -- Drake Nevis, Caesar Rayford, David Carter, and Edgar Jones, and mold them into Pro Bowlers. Amazing.

LB -- Two stars and solid role players. Going into the season, we all thought it was the linebackers -- Lee and Carter (along with D Ware) -- who would be the studs of the D. Turns out it's been the D Linemen who have upstaged them. I think this is mostly due to some early growing pains with the 4-3. I expect these guys to get better and better as the year goes on. Behind Carter and Lee, Durant is also solid, and Holloman offers youthful playmaking potential. Bosworth and Sims get more time on special teams. A very solid group.

CB -- Three very good players, and two young trainees. We thought Carr and Claiborne would be our rocks at CB. Instead, it's been Carr and Scandrick, with Claiborne still learning and dealing with injury dings. But as a threesome, they are very good. With Webb and Greenwood, we have two guys to train as future starters.

S -- Young and green, but with potential. Barry Church's play has been tremendous, and the insertion of JJ Wilcox gives Dallas two young safeties to grow together. Will Allen is better as the backup for both spots. McCray and Heath are special teamers. If Matt Johnson can get and stay healthy, he could take Allen's role next year.

Bailey, Jones, and LaDouceur are all very solid.

There will still be roster movement, but this looks like a much deeper and younger roster, where you have solid starters at every position, and often the young future starters already on the team behind them. I think Dallas has finally turned a corner.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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