Now that minicamp is over and we wait for some real action again, I find myself already wresting in my sleep, hoping for an inkling of Dallas Cowboys information to stimulate my blue and silver dreams. And due to the importance I place in loyalty, I refuse to dream off a Cowboys clad LeBron catching touchdown after touchdown. (Those two rings off his need to be invalidated for The Great Collusion that the NBA refuses to address. Sorry, I digress)
So instead of great cowboys dreams, I lie in bed itching for things to think about and lately I've turned to how I think the Cowboys 2014 roster may look like, so I thought why not share with some fellow fans. Without any more of my ramblings, let's continue:
Quarterbacks (2): Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden
Kyle Orton doesn't want to play in Dallas, and I don't want him in Dallas. I want nothing to do with a man who would rather pay money than play the game. He's already been sittin on his butt collecting fines. Preferably, I'd hope that the Cowboys get him to retire and get the money back, but if it need be, I would cut him loose. Hopefully Dustin Vaughn shows a little something at camp and can stick on the Practice Squad
I didn't like what I saw Joseph Randle last year at all. It was uninspired running and behind a top 5 run blocking O-Line and he should have done better. Murray and Dunbar and certain bets to make the team and have defined roles. I am really intrigued by Williams and his prospects, but I will say I am hesitant on the overall injury bug that seems to have a permanent presence around these 3. Ben Malena is an interesting prospect who I definitely want on the PS and if one of the top 3 go down, he can be called up for spot duty. While I do believe that we are moving away from the fullback, Murray has been successful with a big guy blocking in front of him before and if they have a fullback on the roster, he's a sure bet to get a meaningful 10 snaps a game, and that's good enough for me to warrant a roster spot. Tyler Clutts probably has the inside track on the job, but I like what Copeland brings and the pads should show that
Dez is our superstar. T-Will is his Robin. Beasley is Alfred, under-appreciated, but important none the less. Well... that's about as far as I can take that analogy. Harris is almost assured a spot as a kick returning ace. Street is probably assured a spot due to his draft slot, but he's also been great in camp and interviews, and seems deserving of the spot. I will say that Washington was probably the toughest inclusion I made. I really want him to be on the team for his story, his speed, and his special teams ability, but this club has not always shown the desire to hold a 6th WR on the opening day roster. He is currently my 53rd man.
There have been some rumors that Hannah may not make the team, but I'm not buying it. I like the guy's skill set and I'm hoping that between TE coach Mike Pope and OP Scott Linehan, he will not only develop, but be used in a proper manner, which would be as a pass catcher and not like the blocker they deployed him as last year. Now, if they want a blocker, which Jason Witten would like, Najvar may be the answer. They like his ability as a blocker and he has potential. I'd definitely give him a good hard look and lets see if he can crack the 53.
The starters apart from the LG positions are set and its a solid bet that both Mack and Ron make the roster. The cowboys have a decision on hand to make regarding the swing tackle. Weems is younger and has been making a push for a while, but Parnell has done what's been asked of him. Nick Eatman recently espoused his thinking that there's a possibility that Parnell ends up on another team. I like the idea. I think he has value to a team with little OT depth and could be an option to get a pick or a player. Cutting Weems would be a waste considering the amount of time the team has used on him so I believe that this may be the smartest way to go. I still believe that the cowboys hold onto another O-lineman, but as of this moment, I'm not totally sure who. I think the rest of the guys are too young, but possess some practice squad value. Depending on the money, I like the idea of Uche Nwaneri as this player. Not completely sold yet, but the possibility is there.
I've stated my belief regarding the DLine before and very little has changed in the meanwhile. I see Mincey in the same light as Will Allen and Durant last year, almost like a stopgap for Tank. He's the RDE starter right now, but sooner than later, Tank will take over. Luckily for him, we don't have too many options at RDE, so he will see ample playing time. Selvie is basically the vet of this group and as Dave recently shared in his post, is a great guy and a true RKG. Melton will still get his shot to show if he can return to his old form. McClain has been great in so far. Bishop is one of the few true 1 techs on the roster and even Chuck Norris would squeal at the thought having to tell Ben Gardner he's fired. For the waves plan that Coach Rod wants to employ, we'll need numbers, but I don't see us keeping more than 10 with the last 2 spots coming down to a battle between Bass, Coleman, and Nick Hayden. The staff really seems to love Hayden, but he's a career JAG and, sadly, not much more. His tenacity and ability to stay healthy is great, but the potential with Bass and Coleman is to great to give up. Martez Wilson and Caesar Rayford still have their shots (especially due to the lack of many RDEs on the team), but the numbers don't look too promising for them.
Carter will get another shot at the WILL. Durant's spot is virtually locked up with Sean Lee getting injured as he now is the only reliable veteran. Wilber is looking like the front runner for the SAM spot. Holloman was promising and has the possibility to start at MIKE or SAM. Hitchens will get his time to grow and has his spot basically safe, barring a terrible camp. Linebacker is the position of least depth on this roster, but I see almost no way the team only carries 5 LBs into the season. They have options with 7th rounder Will Smith and even UDFA Dantavis Sapp, and they could even possibly go outside for the answer. But I'm going to go with Lemon here for one reason and one reason alone, the recommendation of one Dez Bryant. When prompted earlier in the offseason on a breakout player, Dez responded with his offseason lifting buddy, Orie Lemon, and said that he would surprise a lot of people. He's been with the team many years and I'd like to see what he can do. Smith and Sapp can buy their time on the PS.
Cornerback (5): Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, Mo Claiborne, Sterling Moore, Terrence Mitchell
There looks to be a lot of quality corners on the team this year, so it may be hard for the front office to make their cuts. The top 3 is set, but there is a lot of competition beneath them. The Cowboys don't normally keep too many corners, but they may have to keep 5 this year. Moore is BY FAR the forgotten man in Dallas, so much so that even the Cowboys forget about him a couple of times. He deserves to make this team on opening day and I hope he gets his shot. No way will the pokes keep more than 5 corners, so the young guys are going to be fighting tooth and nail for it. For the slot that he was selected in last year, BW Webb has been a let down and hasn't looked much better so far this year. Even though we've only seen him for 3 non pad practices, Terrance Mitchell looks like he may have something to him. I've seen Scandrick quoted many times pumping up his belief of "TMitch." I like Tyler Pattmon as well, but for a workout player, the PS isnt bad at all.
This was hard for me. Church and Wilcox are no brainers, but I have no idea about the rest of them. Up until the minicamps, I had virtually counted Hamilton out, but the man is showing up, even possibly challenging for a starting spot. From there I believe there are 2 spots for 3 guys. This all comes down to the Unicorn's ability to magically appear for once. I've been told before that I can be a little naive, but man do I keep hoping Johnson will show up for once. For now, I'll keep him on the 53, but that could change the instant he gets tapped on the shoulder and it separates. I find it tough to decide between Heath and Ahmad Dixon. While we love to hate on Heath, for a UDFA he was thrown into the fire and struggled as one would expect. He did show ability though and has the ability to cover, which Dixon seems to completely lack. While I love Dixon's mentality, I'm just not sure he's NFL ready yet. If we can sneak him on the PS, it would be great.
Special Teams (3): Dan Bailey, Cody Mandell, LP Ladouseur
Only real surprise here could be Mandell. Kid has been booming some in the minicamp lately. While Chris Jones has been decent, we could stand to update. The chance he takes Jones' job isn't that great, but I've been frustrated and confused with Jones on more than one occasion so I'm hoping that Mandell takes that job.