With the news that the Cowboys have released long snapper Charley Hughlett from their training camp roster; the team is now down to the necessary 75 players. The releases had to be done, per a league mandate requiring every NFL team to be down to this number by 4pm Eastern time. O.C.C. already covered the first wave of today's releases, but as a recap:
Cowboys cut 8 players on Monday: WR Radway, OT Adcock, OT Novikoff, RB Williams, WR Little, CB Wilson, PK Alvarado and TE Flaherty
LB Caleb McSurdy and WR Donavon Kemp waived/injured and will go to IR. Guard/center Kevin Kowalski moved to PUP and will miss first 6 weeks.
Soon after the Cowboys had completed their work against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night, I set out to create a 53-man roster projection. I hadn't done one in the past few weeks and figured that it was about time.
To be honest, today was the easy round. As anyone that has played around with Coty's roster builder will tell you. Things don't get all that difficult for the first 10 or so cuts. The difficulty really comes in the last 3-4 slots in addition to the danger of which players can be snuck onto the practice squad and which ones are likely to be scooped up by other teams.
After seeing today's moves I was pretty pleased with my projections. I had CB C.J. Wilson making the practice squad. Other than that, I hit the remainder of the selections.
Want to know who I have Dallas waving goodbye to come the final cuts on Friday? Follow the jump to find out.
Before you ask in the comments, Dallas only has two players eligible for in-season PUP. That would be Mike Jenkins and Kevin Kowalski. That's it. If you've played a snap in practice or in a game, you can't be on PUP. Period. OK?
Here's my take on whom I believe the Cowboys will keep come Friday. To see how much has changed, I am including the selections I made back at the end of June- the last time I attempted a 53.
QB (2) Tony Romo, Kyle Orton
Apparently, I was incorrect back in June that Carpenter isn't eligible for the practice squad. It seems that he is despite this being season number four in the pros.
(June (3): Romo, Orton, Carpenter)
RB (3) DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner
No surprise here despite Tanner missing some time. Haven't seen enough out of the understudy's to take his place.
FB (1) Lawrence Vickers
WR (7) Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley, Andre Holmes, Danny Coale
Initially I thought the club was going to replace Ogletree with an outside vet, but not after we've watched camp and a few PS games. The addition here is Dwayne Harris; thought he was a practice squader in June, but he's a candidate for the number three wideout spot now. Cowboys go deep at receiver in 2012 because Homes/Coale would get plucked off the practice squad.
(June (6): Bryant, Austin, Ogletree, Holmes, Coale, Beasley)
TE (3) Jason Witten, John Phillips, James Hanna
Back in June, the concern was that Hanna was dropping wide open passes in the OTAs. That has rarely happened since.
OL (8) Tyron Smith, Nate Livings, Phil Costa, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Doug Free, David Arkin, Jermey Parnell, Pat McQuistan
I think the Cowboys are waiting until after Week One, when salaries aren't guaranteed, to bring back G Montrae Holland. Arkin isn't good, but he has improved as a backup center. Still a work very much in process. Despite some great plays in the preseason, this is still the weakest unit on the team. By far.
(June (9): Smith, Livings, Bernadeau, Leary, Free, Parnell, Nagy, Kowalski, Costa)
DL (7) Jay Ratliff, Sean Lissemore, Jason Hatcher, Marcus Spears, Tyrone Crawford, Josh Brent, Kenyon Coleman
Disappointed in Geathers this preseason. If the Cowboys decide to PUP Jenkins, I think he gets the 53 spot however. Geathers appears available to go to the practice squad despite earlier reports otherwise. Spears is showing up too much and Coleman is getting too many snaps to be let go. Surprising.
(June (6): Ratliff Lissemore, Hatcher, Spears, Crawford, Brent)
LB (9) DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Anthony Spencer, Victor Butler, Dan Connor, Kyle Wilber, Adrian Hamilton, Alex Albright
Same group I predicted back in June; no way that an OLB like Wilber or Hamilton makes it to the practice squad. Pretty proud of this group of predictions.
CB (5) Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Mario Butler
I'm thinking that Dallas keeps Jenkins on the active roster simply because his check-up with Dr. Andrews isn't scheduled until after final cuts. If there's any chance that he can be available before the bye, the team will hold out hope.
(June (6): Carr, Claiborne, Jenkins, Scandrick, Butler, Taplin-Ross)
S (5) Gerald Sensabaugh, Barry Church, Matt Johnson, Danny McCray, Manna Silva
Tough call here, but Silva makes it five. The kid is just making plays and although I haven't seen a review of his special teams play I know he was on the first units. You aren't hiding Matt Johnson on the practice squad. He will be the first player on at least 16 teams waiver claim e-mail to the league.
(June (4): Sensi, Church, Johnson, McCray)
ST (3) Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, LP Ladoucer
I miss McBriar, but Jones is growing on me a bit.
(June (3) Bailey, McBriar, Ladoucer)
PRACTICE SQUAD (8): QB Rudy Carpenter, G Ronald Leary, RB Jamize Olawale, CB Lionel Smith, LB Orie Lemon, WR Salim Hakim, DE Ben Bass, DE Clifton Geathers
I like Olawale over Chapas/Dunbar and Lionel Smith over CJ Wilson. Hakim and Benford was a tough call, but the signing bonus wins out here. I'm worried about Bass on the squad, but not enough to try and protect him on the main roster.
So those are my predictions, what do you think? In fact, if you can wait until 8:00pm Eastern and we'll release the brand new version of Coty Saxman's Roster Builder. You can create your own "Final 53".