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You'll never guess who leads all Dallas Cowboys players in total preseason snaps

A look at the preseason snap counts yields some surprising results.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

You've read the title of this post, so you're fairly sure the Cowboys' leader in preseason snaps is a down-roster player you probably haven't heard much of.

But do you think can at least figure out which position that player is playing?

Perhaps it's a down-roster linebacker with tons of special teams snaps? Perhaps a defensive back who's been forced to play extra snaps because of all the injuries to the secondary? Or is it a wide receiver doubling as a special teams regular?

It's not a quarterback (even though Cooper Rush has played a lot of snaps), it's not a running back, and it's certainly not the fullback.

The player leading the Cowboys in preseason snaps is OG/OT Kadeem Edwards, with 188 snaps over four games (176 on offense, 12 on special teams). Edwards feels a little bit like the forgotten guy on the depth chart. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Buccaneers in 2014, waived injured, then spent 2015 and part of 2016 in Jacksonville before the Cowboys signed him to their practice squad last year.

The O-line has generated a lot of headlines this preseason, from the battle for the left guard spot, Chaz Green's health, Dan Skipper's height, La'el Collins' punches, all the way to Byron Bell's weight reduction target. Absent in all of these stories: Kadeem Edwards, who is listed as the backup left tackle behind Tyron Smith.

Yet despite playing the most snaps of any player, that may not mean all that much in the end. Of the top seven players as ranked by offensive or defensive snaps, five are offensive linemen:

Most regular snaps
Name POS Regular Snaps ST snaps Total
K. Edwards OL 176 12 188
J. Cooper OL 161 11 172
B. Bell OL 149 12 161
E. Cleary OL 148 10 158
N. Brown WR 127 55 182
B. Brown WR 127 22 149
R. Burbank OL 119 7 126

That picture changes slightly when we look at the top players by total snaps, where some of the special teams mainstays show up.

Most total snaps
Name POS Regular Snaps ST snaps Total
K. Edwards OL 176 12 188
N. Brown WR 127 55 182
J. Cooper OL 161 11 172
S. Seamster CB 115 50 165
R. Blanton S 111 52 163
B. Bell OL 149 12 161
D. Thomas CB 113 46 159
E. Cleary OL 148 10 158
B. Brown WR 127 22 149
J. Showers S 83 64 147

Edwards retains his spot at the top, but the surprising name for me here is WR Noah Brown. Considering the amount of injuries the other rookies have had in camp, it's a little surprising to see the Cowboys put him through the ringer like this. The draft picks with the next-highest snap count totals are Jordan Carrell (96) and Taco Charlton (93).

By themselves, preseason snap counts probably don't mean all that much. Kadeem Edwards for example is not suddenly going to be a starter and neither is Noah Brown. But sometimes these snaps can give you an early hint of how the depth chart may be filling out.

Take linebackers for example. It's not clear today how many linebackers the Cowboys will keep - maybe six, maybe seven - but whoever that last linebacker may be, he'd better bring it on special teams.

Name Regular Snaps ST snaps Total
J. Jones 80 60 140
D. Wilson 90 26 116
M. Nzeocha 56 34 90
J. Lotulelei 50 37 87
K. Wilber 61 24 85
K. Gilchrist 57 15 72
A. Hitchens 54 3 57
L. Wacha 31 5 36
J. Smith 27 27
S. Lee 17 1 18

Going by these numbers, it looks like Joseph Jones is making a very strong push for that last spot. He has the second-most special teams snaps (60) behind Jameill Showers (64), and his 80 regular snaps are second only to Damien Wilson among linebackers.

Will that translate into a roster spot? Who knows, but Jones has certainly been given a lot of opportunities to show what he can do.

Similar situation at wide receiver, where at least five players are in contention for a possible sixth spot. We already know that Noah Brown leads all wide receivers in terms of snaps, but by how much?

Wide Receivers
Name Regular Snaps ST snaps Total
N. Brown 127 55 182
B. Brown 127 22 149
L. Lenoir 87 41 128
U. Nwachukwu 86 13 99
A. Jones 71 21 92

Andy Jones sat out one game, which explains why he's ranked at the bottom here. Lance Lenoir has been a pleasant surprise. Signed as an afterthought in mid-June, Lenoir has made the most of his chances and may have a chance at a practice squad spot. Brian Brown also shows up well here and has gotten the second-most snaps of any receiver.

Will it be enough?

We'll find out in four days. Roster cuts have to be in by 4:00 pm ET on Saturday, and many of these down-roster players have one more chance on Thursday to show that they belong with the Cowboys, on the roster or on the practice squad.

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