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:
|TE||Gavin Escobar||Dallas Walker|
|LT||Darrion Weems||John Wetzel
|LG||Ronald Leary||Uche Nwaneri|
|C||Travis Frederick||Ronald Patrick|
|RG||Zack Martin||John Wetzel||Wayne Tribue|
|RT||Doug Free||Jermey Parnell|
||James Hanna||Jordan Najvar|
||Dwayne Harris||Jamar Newsome,
|QB||Tony Romo||Brandon Weeden||Caleb Hanie||Dustin Vaughan|
||Joseph Randle||Ryan Williams,, , Ben Malena|
|LDE||George Selvie||Ben Gardner||, , Adewale Ojomo|
||Nick Hayden||Terrell McClain||Caesar Rayford|
|3-tech DT||Henry Melton|
|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|
|LCB||Sterling Moore||Terrance Mitchell||Dashaun Phillips|
|RCB||Orlando Scandrick||B.W. Webb||Tyler Patmon
|FS||Jakar Hamilton||Matt Johnson|
|SS||J.J. Wilcox||Jeff Heath||Ryan Smith|
|H||Chris Jones||Tony Romo|
||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 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.