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What Cowboys' 90-Man Roster Numbers Reveal About Roster Depth And Team Needs

That's a lot of players to keep track of.
That's a lot of players to keep track of.

You can learn a lot of things by looking at a team's 90-man offseason roster count. Which positions are overrepresented, which positions are underrepresented, and where could the teams still be looking for upgrades, especially relative to some of its closest competitors?

To see if I could glean anything from the Cowboys' 90-man roster and the rosters of the remaining NFC East teams, I tallied the division's offseason rosters by position, using the depth charts. Here are the numbers:

DAL 4 8 11 5 15 10 14 18 5 90
NYG 3 8 11 7 15 15 10 18 3 90
PHI 4 6 12 5 16 13 10 16 5 87
WAS 4 8 12 6 16 12 13 15 4 90

The first thing that stands out to me is that all teams are fairly consistent in the number of wide receivers and offensive linemen they currently have on the roster. The second thing that stands out is that the Eagles are short a couple of players - there are many jokes that come to mind here, but I'm skipping every single one.

The Cowboys have more defensive backs on their 90-man roster than any other position. This shouldn't come as a surprise given the importance Rob Ryan has placed on finding the right DBs to fit his scheme. The Cowboys traditionally carry nine, occasionally ten, defensive backs, so going by these numbers alone, this could be one of the most heatedly contested roster battles in training camp.

The 18 DBs will be going up against 11 wide receivers, of which less than half are likely going to make the 53-man roster - the Cowboys have only carried five wide receivers on their opening roster for the last four seasons.

The Cowboys also have the most linebackers in the NFC East. This is of course partly due to the 3-4 defensive scheme which requires more linebackers than the traditional 4-3, but also reflects the importance of getting some playmaking dudes at these positions. Conversely, the Cowboys are thinner on the defensive line than the other teams, but even if we allow for the 3-4 scheme, having just 10 defensive linemen heading into camp appears a bit thin. So if you were looking for the Cowboys to release one of the veteran defensive linemen, that's unlikely to happen before final roster cuts. Interestingly though, if you take a high number of players at a position as an indication of the degree of need the team has at that position, you could argue that the Cowboys think their defensive line is a position of strength.

But you have to a little careful with those causalities. The Cowboys are also a little thin at tight end, but not because they are stacked there. Remember that they had been looking to bring in a veteran free agent there, so that could easily be a spot that the Cowboys address during or after camp.

The Cowboys look stacked at RB, but that's only because they are carrying three fullbacks to camp. The Giants also have three, the Eagles two and the Redskins just one. This effectively leaves the Redskins with seven running backs on their current roster, an unusually high number.

Obviously, all of these numbers will change during and after training camp. The first roster cuts (to 75 players) are due on August 28 following preseason week 3, and the final cut to 53 players will happen on August 31.

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