The Dallas Cowboys will be finalizing their 53-man roster real soon, and it’s just a matter of time before the answers to so many of our questions will be revealed. There are still several position groups with roster battles up for grabs that could come down to the wire when determining who makes the cut. The team also has to make sure they are covered across all positions depth-wise, as well as account for special team contributors when rounding out their roster. With all that taken into account, there are many things that remain a mystery.
To help get a better feel for things, we decided to do a position-by-position breakdown to identify the team’s biggest questions when it comes to putting together their 2019 roster.
QUARTERBACK - Will Mike White be claimed by another team?
It’s pretty clear now that last year’s fifth-round quarterback investment, Mike White, is not ready for NFL action. Cooper Rush has run away with the backup QB job. The team may still try to sign White to the practice squad in hopes that further development can still create a potential backup down the road. The only question is - will another team that was high on him during the draft, claim him?
Another thing to look out for is if the team decides to sign Taryn Christion to the practice squad. His dynamic skill set may come in handy as he helps the team prepare for certain weekly matchups throughout the season.
Prediction: He isn’t claimed and is brought back on the practice squad.
RUNNING BACK - How many will they keep, and who could it be?
Assuming Ezekiel Elliott returns, he and Tony Pollard should be all the team needs at the running back position. Let’s be honest - would you want anyone else carrying the ball? With none of the other running backs doing anything to distinguish themselves, the Cowboys may go short at the position because they know suitable depth is readily available.
The team may also decide to keep one more. Alfred Morris is very much in the picture if Zeke doesn’t show up. Mike Weber is the second rookie they drafted, despite already taking Pollard, so he might have a shot. And let’s not forget Jordan Chunn who has already paid his dues on the practice squad last season. The coaches love him and he can help out on special teams as well.
Prediction: They only keep two, but bring one back on the practice squad. I lean towards Weber, but the team loves Chunn.
WIDE RECEIVER - Will it be Cedrick Wilson, Devin Smith, or both?
The Cowboys have a tough decision to make at wide receiver as both Cedrick Wilson and Devin Smith are having great camps. It’s truly a coin flip which one should get the nod. Over 2,500 votes came in from the BTB community, and you gave the edge to Smith.
If Smith did beat out Wilson for the fifth spot, the Cowboys new WR group would consist of players who were all taken on the first two days of the draft.
The Cowboys wide receiver group this year is going to have some pretty nice draft pedigree. pic.twitter.com/zH9Az6WCMR— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 28, 2019
While it’s tough to choose, the Cowboys may not have to as keeping Noah Brown on PUP may open the door for both these guys to make it.
Prediction: Both make it, Brown remains on PUP.
TIGHT END - Will health force them to keep a fourth guy?
The tight end position group has been set for a while, but injuries to both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz has kept these youngsters out of practice. That is why we’ve been seeing a lot of Cody McElroy and Marcus Lucas lately. It’s unclear just how nicked up Jarwin and Schultz are. The coaches quite possibly are just being extra cautious and both may be ready for the season opener. Then again, they may not be, meaning the Cowboys may have to call on one of their depth guys early in the season.
Prediction: No fourth tight end makes it, but McElroy is brought back on the practice squad.
OFFENSIVE LINE - How many are they keeping, and who gets the nod?
The Cowboys have a lot of depth on the offensive line, but it’s tough trying to sort out who the top guys are. Players like Cameron Fleming, Joe Looney, and rookie Connor McGovern are locked in; however, McGovern had a little bit of a set back in practice on Tuesday. The team may choose to keep him on the roster one day, and then put him on injured reserve.
Outside of those guys, who else makes the team? Both Xavier Su’a-Filo and Adam Redmond are solid pieces to the interior line and would help make the depth even stronger. They seem to be the two players in the running for the last spot and with McGovern ailing, both may find themselves on the roster.
Don’t be shocked if the team decides to keep one of their undrafted rookies to prevent another team from stealing him. Both Mitch Hyatt and Brandon Knight have good potential and it’s starting to show up a little more as to what they can eventually turn in to. Unlike Su’a-Filo and Redmond, these rookies can play tackle and that’s where the team could use that additional depth should for one of those last roster spots.
Prediction: They go long at OL, taking one veteran and one UDFA.
DEFENSIVE END - Will the team go with a rookie over Taco?
This group is going to be tough to draw the line. The Cowboys rookie draft picks Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks have both played well enough to warrant keeping on the roster. Third-year player, and former first-round pick, Taco Charlton, has stepped up his game to where there’s now a logjam at the position group.
Right now, it feels like the team would go with Charlton and Jackson for the final two spots with the hopes that they can get Jelks on the practice squad. Charlton could be the wild card here if the team decides to put on their fancy pants to ensure they retain their young edge rushers.
Prediction: Taco and Jackson make it, but Jelks gets signed by another team. Team feels instant regret.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE - Will Daniel Wise make the team?
The top four guys are set with Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, Trysten Hill, and Christian Covington all safe. You could make a case that Daniel Wise should make the team as well, but a crowded defensive line may not allow that to happen. Instead, the team would have to hope Wise clears waivers and they can bring him back to the practice squad.
Prediction: Wise doesn’t make the 53, gets signed by another team. Team opts to bring Ricky Walker on the practice squad instead.
LINEBACKER - Will this be the end for Justin March?
Many have the veteran March penciled in on the roster due to his value on special teams, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough to keep him on the team. With such a strong core of four guys hogging all the reps, the back end should be allocated for young guys who offer upside. Chris Covington and Luke Gifford are two of those guys. March would just get in the way, and unless the health of their depth intervenes, March’s days in Dallas could be nearing an end.
Prediction: March may survive initial cuts because of Gifford’s ankle, but he could be the guy they cut loose when Robert Quinn returns from his suspension.
CORNERBACK - Will they go deep, and which youngster gets the spot?
Similar to linebacker, the Cowboys also have four strong corners who should see the field on the majority of snaps. And similar to linebacker, they may be better served to keep a couple spots open for some young developing guys for the future. And again similar to linebacker, they have a veteran who may be retained because of his value on special teams.
The big difference; however, is that C.J. Goodwin can also play in the field on defense if needed. You have to figure he’s probably going to get a roster spot. That might be all she wrote for CB, but the team may choose to go long with six corners. If that happens, it becomes a battle between last year’s UDFA Donovan Olumba and rookie Mike Jackson, with the consolation prize being a spot on the practice squad.
Prediction: Goodwin and Olumba get the last spots, Jackson survives waiver claims and is brought back to the practice squad.
SAFETY - Who will get that fourth S spot?
Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and rookie Donovan Wilson are your three locks at the safety position. But anything after that is a complete unknown. Maybe it’s the incumbent veteran Kavon Frazier? Maybe it’s last year’s pick up Darian Thompson? Or maybe it’s the new free agent signing George Iloka? Really, it’s anyone’s guess how this plays out.
Prediction: Lean towards Thompson as the fourth guy, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a trade or waiver claim put in for a safety from another team.
PUNTER - Does Kasey Redfern beat out Chris Jones?
We cannot overlook how much the team loves Chris Jones. He was an offseason award winner, picked by the team’s strength and conditioning staff. And back in 2017, he was quietly one of the best punters in the league.
But as we abruptly learned last year, love doesn’t last long if you’re not producing on the field. Jones had a down season last year, and Kasey Redfern’s leg has looked pretty good in camp.
Prediction: While Jones is the favorite here, don’t be shocked if Redfern wins the job.