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Cowboys Roster Moves: Predicting The Locks & Surprise Cuts To The 53-Man Roster

With roster cuts approaching soon, some thoughts on locks for the roster and bubble players looking to make the team.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday is a big day for many players as teams will be making the necessary cuts to get their rosters down to 53. As it is every year, most of these decisions won’t come as much of a surprise to people as many players have a roster spot locked down. But that is not the case for everyone. Some pet cats will finally get homes while others will have to stray around hoping to get adopted by another team. And then there are those players released that no one saw coming. We over here at BTB pride ourselves on looking into the crystal ball and correctly predicting front office decisions with a reasonable level of accuracy.

So, here we go again. The front-page writers take a crack at guessing which players are:

  • locks to make the team (among bubble players)
  • under the radar players who will sneak on the roster
  • surprise cuts

The players eligible for consideration must be bubble players or players who have at least been in recent conversations regarding whether or not they belong on the team.

Let’s do this...

One Cool Customer

LOCK: LB, Mark Nzeocha

I'm not even going to try to hide my homer bias for my fellow German, but I like what I've seen from Nzeocha, and I like his athletic potential even better.

UNDER THE RADAR: C, Jake Brendel

Picked him as my pet cat, and with UDFAs dropping like flies, he might be the only UDFA to make the team this year.

SURPRISE CUT: S, Kavon Frazier

Simply hasn't shown enough for a spot on the 53. He'll likely make the PS and will eventually make the team, just not now.

Michael Sisemore

LOCK: QB, Jameill Showers

With the future of Romo's season uncertain and the fact that the backup pool is rather murky, the Cowboys will elect to keep one of their own on the roster as they enter the regular season.


He's a project that has never panned out and many believe it's about time he get shown the door. Still, he makes this roster for the fact that nobody else has stepped through to force him off it. Kavon Frazier was drafted as the potential guy that could make Wilcox expendable. At this point, the Cowboys know what they have in him and he'll be saved by the skin of his teeth.

SURPRISE CUT: LB, Damien Wilson

For him, the only thing that he is currently remembered for was getting burned by C.J. Spiller in an overtime thriller last season. He could have been a prime candidate to battle it out at Mike linebacker but instead he was blinded by a silly incident. The Cowboys have yet to see much from Wilson and who's sure they ever will?

Danny Phantom

LOCK: Deji Olatoye

There is a lot to like about the Cowboys cornerback position this season. Morris Claiborne is playing better than he ever has and Orlando Scandrick is getting healthy. And the depth here is better than it’s been in a long while. Second-year corner Deji Olatoye is really coming into his own as he’s performed extremely well this preseason. With all the positive talk of rookie Anthony Brown, it appeared that the best Olatoye could do is secure CB#5. Not so fast. Deji is making his own case for the top corner coming off the bench.

UNDER THE RADAR: Austin Traylor

Rico Gathers is the tight end everyone believes the Cowboys will try to sneak on the team. While that could very well be the case, the team has also found themselves another tight end that belongs on a NFL team. Traylor is a very good blocker and the injury to James Hanna opens the door for Traylor to work his way on the team.

SURPRISE CUT: Ryan Russell

Hey, if you want to surprise people - you gotta go against the grain sometimes. The Cowboys are thirsting for some type of formidable presence along the edge of the defensive line, but Russell offers nothing to quench it. The team needs to continue to churn through the bottom of the this position group and right now - he’s at the bottom.

Jim Scott

LOCK: Austin Traylor

He got to run with the first team in two TE sets against Seattle and the word is he's an outstanding blocker. I think Dallas is impressed enough with him that they do not risk the practice squad for him and he fills James Hanna's spot at least until Hanna returns from his injury.

UNDER THE RADAR: Bryan Witzmann

About as under the radar as you can get, but he has played decently as the number two right tackle at times and, while he is a longshot, don't be utterly shocked if Dallas keeps him around.

SURPRISE CUT: Devin Street

The WR position is crowded and I think Butler has clearly outplayed Street. I think they have many other players more important to them than a sixth WR, which is what Street effectively is at the moment given Lucky Whitehead's special teams and specialty value.

Tom Ryle

LOCK: Deji Olatoye

Danny Phantom beat me to the PFF tweet that outlined it. In addition to his performance as a corner, he is also able to play some safety, as Bryan Broaddus noted. And you know how Jason Garrett loves him some position flex.

UNDER THE RADAR: Austin Traylor

The word on Traylor is that he is showing a lot of skill blocking. With the emphasis on the running game, and James Hanna being injured, he is going to find himself a job on this roster.

SURPRISE CUT: Gavin Escobar

OK, I’m cheating a little here, because I think Escobar is going to get traded to a TE hungry team. He has the skills as a receiver, but Traylor is a better fit for a team that is going to use 12 personnel primarily as a running package. The team is going to get a low draft pick for him and free up a roster spot. It will only leave them with three TEs on the roster, since Rico Gathers is, I believe, going to be waived to try and get him to the practice squad, but it will allow the team to use that spot for one of the other positions where they need numbers.


LOCK: Lance Dunbar

Despite missing so much time the staff and front office seem infatuated with using him as a receiver out of the backfield and all indications seem to be that leaving him off the roster isn't even a consideration. It's surprising that they give this guy the benefit of the doubt as if he was an entrenched starting player and not the end of the roster, special teams/role player that he is.

UNDER THE RADAR: Lawrence Okoye

With DeMarcus Lawrence suspended and David Irving/Charles Tapper still up in the air the team will have to have someone play DE. Benson Mayowa and Jack Crawford are the only two healthy guys left with experience at the position, and even if Russell makes the team there will have to be at least one, perhaps two others on the roster until Lawrence is back. I give Okoye the edge over Mike McAdoo due to his versatility

SURPRISE CUT: Darius Jackson

I get the feeling the team isn't going to want to keep five RB's plus one FB, so unless McFadden is traded or put on the NFI list I think Jackson will be the odd man out.

Alright, that’s our selections. Who do you have as a lock, under the radar guy, and surprise cut?

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