This is Part II of a series ranking each player on the roster at specific positions. You can read Part I at the link below. A brief reminder that this is a ranking based on the likelihood of making the 53-man roster, not a ranking of pure talent. I’ve included the assumptions again at the bottom of the article.
Part I: Offensive skill positions
Part II is for the offensive linemen. And this one was tougher, because I think the Cowboys are going to move some players around. So if you see someone at a different position, it’s just a guess based on things Wade and Jerry have said or because of need at the position.
Andre Gurode (Lock) – Andre just signed a big contract and is the returning starter, making him a lock.
Cory Procter – The Cowboys didn’t draft a backup center after losing Al Johnson, so I’m guessing that Cory Procter will serve in that role. The Cowboys have worked with him on snapping the ball, so he’s my logical choice for the backup role as a C/G combo.
Trey Darilek – Signed in the offseason, he’s an NFL vet, but Procter’s time with the Cowboys gives him the advantage over Darilek.
Steve Rissler – UDFA who would have to really impress in camp to make the roster.
Leonard Davis (Lock) – The big man just got paid, and will be on our line for years to come.
Kyle Kosier (Lock) – Last year’s starter signed a FA contract before last season. The Cowboys will give him one more year to lockdown the left guard position.
Pat McQuistan – I moved McQ to guard because Jerry mentioned they might try him there, because the Cowboys just drafted two tackles, and because we are thin at the position. If McQ moves to guard, he should be one of the primary backups. He might also be a G/T combo reserve.
Joe Berger – The exclusive-rights free agent could double as a guard/center backup, but it’s time to show something in training camp.
Marco Rivera – Either he’s retiring, or the Cowboys are retiring him. Either way, he doesn’t make the 53-man roster this year.
Flozell Adams (Lock) – There’s been talk that maybe one of the rookies could beat him out, but it’s not happening. Flozell is the only experienced LT on the roster (besides L. Davis) and the Cowboys are not going into the season with an inexperienced starting LT.
Marc Colombo (Lock) – Colombo was the starter last year and the Cowboys just re-signed him for two more years. He’s a lock to make the roster.
Doug Free (Lock) – It might be strange to consider a 4th-round rookie draftee as a lock, but the Cowboys have already stated that Free and James Marten are projects for down the road, and I think Free is the more talented of the two. He gets at least one year to show his stuff.
James Marten – He’s close to a lock for the same reason Free is a lock, but since he’s – in my view – the lesser-talent among the two rookie tackles, he still needs to work his way into a lock at training camp. Consider him a semi-lock since the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to give up on a 3rd-round draft choice that quickly.
Jim Molinaro – A vet we signed in the offseason that’s been in the league a few years but hasn’t seen significant playing time.
Robert Turner – I’ve read a few good things about this kid, but it will be hard for him to land on the 53-man roster.
The floor is now open. These are just guesses at a very early part of the offseason, so don’t hold me to them once training camp arrives. A lot of these players I haven’t seen play in person, and some of them I’ve never even seen on TV. But it should make for some fun discussion.
I might have missed a few bottom-of-the-roster players who were signed along the way, so if I did, remind me and I’ll update the post.
Some ground rules for my rankings.
I moved some players around based on things that the coaches and Jerry have said, plus the needs at the position, and plain old gut feel. Not all of them will happen, but I tried to make educated guesses.
Draftees get more benefit of the doubt. If a draftee is competing with a back-up veteran, sometimes the draftee gets the nod even if the vet might be the better player at this moment.
This isn’t a direct ranking of each player’s talent level; other factors sometimes play into the ranking. For example, I think that Terrell Owens is our most talented receiver by a small margin over Terry Glenn, but Glenn has already been paid his bonus while Owens has not. This makes Glenn just a little more of a lock than Owens to make the 53-man roster, so he comes in ahead of Owens, but both are locks in my opinion.
Don’t get too mad at me if I slay one of your pet cats by putting him at the bottom of a ranking. I’ll readily admit I don’t know a lot about UDFA’s and some of out draftees, so I just ranked them on gut feel, need at the position, or by throwing darts at a chart with their names on it.
Be forewarned, I have an unfair bias in favor of veterans over the UDFA’s right now. Until I see some of these guys at camp, if they were one of the last guys signed and not drafted, then they’ll probably rank at the bottom.