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Cowboys First Depth Chart Of 2014: More Questions Than Answers On Defense

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Early clues as to how that position battles in camp are shaping up may come from the first official depth chart of the year the Cowboys just posted on dallascowboys.com.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys released their first official depth chart of the year today because the League requires all teams to do so in preparation for the upcoming exhibition games. Having said that, keep in mind that the list was probably put together specifically for the Chargers game on Thursday so perhaps we shouldn't over-interpret it. At the same time, it may be indicative of the Cowboys' current thought processes, so it is worth a look.

The initial depth chart was probably put together by the coaches, and they naturally gravitate towards veterans over players with less or no NFL experience - unless a young player truly stands out. The scouts and the front office will also have a say in the final roster, so some of the younger guys currently stuck at the bottom of the depth chart may still be able to move up.

Here's what the full depth chart currently looks like:

POS First Second Third Others
Offense
WR Dez Bryant Cole Beasley
Devin Street
Jamar Newsome, Chris Boyd
TE Gavin Escobar Dallas Walker
LT Tyron Smith Darrion Weems John Wetzel

LG Mackenzy Bernadeau Ronald Leary Uche Nwaneri Andre Cureton
C Travis Frederick Ronald Patrick
RG Zack Martin John Wetzel Wayne Tribue
RT Doug Free Jermey Parnell Josh Aladenoye
TE
Jason Witten James Hanna Jordan Najvar
WR
Terrance Williams
Dwayne Harris LaRon Byrd Jamar Newsome, Dezmon Briscoe
QB Tony Romo Brandon Weeden Caleb Hanie Dustin Vaughan
RB DeMarco Murray Lance Dunbar
Joseph Randle Ryan Williams, J.C. Copeland, Tyler Clutts,  Ben Malena
Defense
LDE George Selvie Tyrone Crawford Ben Gardner Dartwan Bush, Kenneth Boatright, Adewale Ojomo
1-tech DT
Nick Hayden Terrell McClain Ken Bishop Caesar Rayford
3-tech DT Henry Melton Ben Bass Davon Coleman
RDE Jeremy Mincey DeMarcus Lawrence Martez Wilson
SLB Kyle Wilber DeVonte Holloman Cameron Lawrence Joe Windsor
MLB Justin Durant Rolando McClain Dontavis Sapp Orie Lemon
WLB Bruce Carter Anthony Hitchens Will Smith Keith Smith
LCB Brandon Carr Sterling Moore Terrance Mitchell Dashaun Phillips
RCB Orlando Scandrick Morris Claiborne B.W. Webb Tyler Patmon
FS Barry Church Jakar Hamilton Matt Johnson
SS J.J. Wilcox Jeff Heath Ahmad Dixon Ryan Smith
Special teams
K Dan Bailey
P Chris Jones Cody Mandell
H Chris Jones Tony Romo
KR Dwayne Harris
J.J. Wilcox Cole Beasley
PR Dwayne Harris Cole Beasley B.W. Webb
LS L.P. Ladouceur Casey Kreiter

Other Notes / Observations from the initial depth chart:

  • Going off this list, LaRon Byrd currently has a leg up in the competition for the sixth WR spot - and this is assuming that Devin Street has locked down the fifth spot.
  • Interesting that the Cowboys have two lines for their tight ends. We've always assumed that the sequence was Witten - Escobar - Hanna - Others, but rabblerousr wrote in today's practice report that when Escobar is in the lineup, "he's often in the slot, so it looks like a three-wide formation (Linehan and Co. seem to see him more as a big receiver than as a tight end); when they go to a traditional 2-tight end set, with both guys in the in-line "Y" position, its almost always James Hanna who joins Witten)." That would make Escobar the "move" or "F" tight ends, who is almost receiver-like in terms of shiftiness but in turn might not be as powerful a blocker. But you gotta wonder what Dallas Walker is doing in that line with Escobar then.
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau is listed the starter at left guard, ahead of Ronald Leary. This may be a result Leary missing time early, but this is a position to watch. Uche Nwaneri, who many had thought would work as the backup at right guard, is also oddly listed at the left guard spot.
  • Fullbacks are listed with the running backs, which makes it impossible to figure out what's what, but we do know that Joseph Randle is ahead of Ryan Williams so far.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence is still listed high in the depth chart despite being injured, while Anthony Spencer is missing completely (probably because he's on PUP). Ben Gardner and Martez Wilson seem to be locked in a battle for the last or last two DE spots.
  • As we head into the Chargers game, watch out for Davon Coleman (60) and Ken Bishop (66) on the defensive line. You may want to start getting used used to those numbers.
  • No big surprises at linebacker, but for those wondering where he fits, Anthony Hitchens is now officially playing the Will spot behind Bruce Carter.
  • At corner, Terrance Mitchell has created separation from the other rookies and will likely be battling for the fifth corner spot with B.W. Webb.
  • There are already 63 players listed on offense and defense in the First, Second and Third column, and that excludes the three special teamers likely to make the roster. That probably means that very few - if any - of the players marked "Others" will make the team, and that up to 13 players in the column marked "Third" still need to be cut.

Share your thoughts on the depth chart in the comments section. You can also use our Interactive Roster Builder to work on building your own 53-man roster. The tool has been updated with the latest info from the depth chart and the most recent transactions.