With preseason games approaching, the NFL requires teams to publish their depth charts. The Cowboys have just recently updated theirs and it is now available for your viewing. While there will be several changes coming throughout the course of the next month, this is where they are at right now. The chart was probably put together by the Cowboys' PR department and not by the coaches, it surprisingly doesn't list all the Cowboys' players, but it's still a semi-official chart preparted for the game against the Rams on Saturday.
Here is a breakdown of the current depth chart:
The Cowboys backup quarterback position was already hazy, but when Kellen Moore broke his ankle, it became even more complicated. Jameill Showers has another year of practice squad eligibility so he seems likes a good candidate for that spot, however, with Moore hurt - does he have a shot to make the 53-man roster?
It should be noted that Dustin Vaughan held down the #3 spot at this time last year so who really knows how this could all play out?
Some people (raises hand) think Darren McFadden could be squeezed out of a job, but he’s listed as the team's #2 RB. Is that an indication of where the coaches value him on the team? As Joey Ickes said in the latest podcast with his 53-man roster breakdown, "he’s too expensive to not play" and Joey shares my thinking that it’s just going to be hard to find touches for him with the other players they have at running back.
I have all but counted out Devin Street. In fact, a few days ago my WR rankings were as follows:
@VoiceOfTheStar This Street is closed.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 7, 2016
(4) A. Jones
(5) Lucky (PR)
This list not only kicks Street to the curb, but I have clearly jumped on the Andy Jones bandwagon. Looking at the depth chart serves as a reminder that I need to slow my roll. While nothing has changed to make me feel Street has a chance, there are two things I need to be mindful of...
- Brice Butler has a pretty good grip on a WR spot.
- Andy Jones doesn’t.
As much as I love what I have seen from Jones in camp, it’s a mistake to get too worked up about him at this point. He’s got some work to do.
There’s no Rico Gathers on this chart. The Cowboys aren’t keeping five tight ends and the list above is a good indication of the team's top four guys. Does that mean the final roster will look like that? The Cowboys might get creative here and work some "strategery" in an attempt to retain Gathers. Joey Ickes has Gathers making the roster and Swaim back to the practice squad.
While this may seem nonsensical, the Cowboys drafted Gathers in order to avoid a fight in undrafted free agency to sign him, and they did so knowing he would not be a polished on-field product in his first training camp. While Jones and Swaim are having very good training camps, and they likely are viable NFL players, neither have the long-term upside that Gathers brings to the table. Knowing this, and understanding the landscape of the NFL, it's extremely unlikely that Gathers would make it through waivers to the practice squad.
Nothing surprising here. The top seven spots are locked down. If you are still on the fence with veteran Joe Looney vs. rookie Jake Brendel, that’s a battle that could be fun to watch, however the veteran appears to be the clear front runner as of now.
Guess who’s listed as the Cowboys #1 RDE? That’s right, it’s Danny Phantom’s pet cat, David Irving. In all fairness, we haven’t got a chance to see anything from Benson Mayowa yet so this spot is still wide open.
Terrell McClain is currently slated for the starting 1-tech. While injuries have played a role in the team’s ability to get a good feel for the talent they have along the interior line, this depth chart could serve as a reminder that McClain is recognized as a good player.
While many of us are compelled to find someone other than Kyle Wilber to play the SAM linebacker spot, he’s still listed as the Cowboys starter. Sean Lee is firmly planted as the teams WILL and Anthony Hitchens still holds down the MIKE, but a lot can change with this group. With veteran Justin Durant and second-year Mark Nzeocha applying pressure, a lot can still happen with the LB arrangement.
Regardless of what the depth chart indicates, Orlando Scandrick is one of the team’s starting corners. What could be interesting though is who’s the #2 CB lining up on the opposite side? Morris Claiborne is listed as a starter now and that could still end up being the case once the season starts. Both Deji Olatoye and Anthony Brown are battling it out for CB #4, but the consolation prize should just be the #5 spot as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of competition behind them.
The starters are locked in so it’s just a matter of how the depth plays out. Veteran and former starter, J.J. Wilcox still holds one of the backup spots. Jeff Heath holds the other. Can rookie Kavon Frazier do enough in camp to warrant a roster spot?
Just the usual suspects. Nobody ever challenges Bailey, Jones, or LaDouceur for their job. The only real question is - can anyone not named "Lucky" show enough in the return game to make him expendable?
What do you make of the Cowboys depth chart? Is there anything that stands out or any clues to how the final roster could look?