It’s official. The Dallas Cowboys have put together their initial 53-man roster for the 2019 season. While things are still subject to change as the team looks to make last-second upgrades, at least we have a group of names to work with. Many of the players who made the cut are names we expected to see. Some; however, might be a little bit of a surprise. And then there still are a few things that have us scratching our heads.
You can find a complete list of the players who made the team here. With the roster set (for the moment) here are some things we can take from the roster decisions the front office has made.
THREE THINGS WE ALREADY KNEW
1. The Cowboys were going long in the trenches
A couple weeks ago, we identified four things to remember when it comes to filling out the roster, and one of those things was that - talent in the trenches was hard to find.
For years, the Cowboys haven’t had very good depth in the trenches, but things are quite different now. With players like Joe Jackson, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, and even the before mentioned Redmond - the team has several guys that belong on NFL rosters. Look for the Cowboys to go deep at these position groups.
All these guys are safe as the Cowboys keep 10 defensive linemen and 11 offensive linemen. It may come with a price as they had to let some young developing guys go, but they have to hang on to these reliable pieces when have the chance.
It was a little surprising to see the Cowboys hang on to Brandon Knight. He was my super-sneaky dark horse candidate before camp started and he’s been on our radar.
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.
Prediction: They go long at OL, taking one veteran and one UDFA.
Not once, but twice...
OL Brandon Knight - An injury has slowed him down, but there’s still a lot to like about Knight. One of those things is his nastiness, but the big draw that could punch his ticket on the roster may be his position flex to swing outside to tackle. The team has plenty of depth on the offensive line, but most of it’s on the inside. Keeping Knight in their back pocket could give them a little help on the outside, as well as a potential swing tackle for the future.
2. Mike White didn’t have a chance
Cowboys to carry two quarterbacks on initial 53-man roster. Team notified Mike White and Taryn Christion they've been waived, sources said. Possible one could return on practice squad, pending waivers. Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush are at quarterback in Dallas.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 31, 2019
This wasn’t a shocker considering how much White has struggled this preseason. And considering what Taryn Christion brings to the table in terms of helping the team prepare - White’s spot on the practice squad is not a sure thing.
3. Luke Gifford was making this team
Despite seeing less than one half of preseason action, undrafted free agent Luke Gifford did enough to make the football team. To his credit, he exemplified all the buzz being generated in camp about him. Despite suffering a high ankle sprain - his chances to make the roster looked pretty good.
Second-year linebacker Chris Covington wasn’t able to survive cuts, but Justin March was. There have been a lot of discussions about whether or not certain players like March or Kavon Frazier were good enough to earn a spot on the roster. Both are special teams aces, but offer up very little on the defensive side to justify keeping them around.
Well, the Cowboys didn’t see it that way as both March and Frazier made that cut, as did another special team’s ace C.J. Goodwin. It may be a little surprising that all these guys earned a roster spot, but with how much the Cowboys value special teams play, it’s understandable. Gifford, whenever he becomes available to play again, will join them on the special team’s battle field.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Devin Smith won the WR battle
Devin Smith has made the Cowboys 53-man roster, per source.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 31, 2019
Both Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson have been in a two-man race over the last few weeks, and the former second-round pick of the New York Jets has emerged the winner.
Cowboys have waived WR Cedrick Wilson, source said. Team hopes to add him to practice squad on Sunday, but he'd have to clear waivers first. After multiple ACL tears, WR Devin Smith is expected to be on initial 53-man roster.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 31, 2019
Smith is finally healthy and he’s looked very good this preseason. Wilson has been balling out too, so it’s a little surprising to see him released, but the Cowboys chose to go with just five receivers.
The Cowboys wide receiver group now consists of:
- Two former 1st-round picks (Amari Cooper and Tavon Austin)
- Two former 2nd-round picks (Randall Cobb and Devin Smith)
- One former 3rd-round pick (Michael Gallup)
That’s some pretty nice draft investments made by other teams that the Cowboys have gathered for their own gain.
2. The Cowboys don’t need extra running backs
Cowboys have waived RB Jordan Chunn, source said. He's expected to be signed to practice squad on Sunday — if he clears waivers.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 31, 2019
With things heating up with the Ezekiel Elliott contract talks, the Cowboys running back group is looking to be in great shape to start the season. And with Zeke and rookie sensation Tony Pollard in the backfield, there just aren’t that many additional touches to go around. Darius Jackson, Mike Weber, and Jordan Chunn were all released. Alfred Morris survived for now, but it’s unclear if Elliott’s return will then make him expendable.
With special teams skills, and the ability to catch passes, Jordan Chunn was a guy who was getting a lot of hype building up to roster cuts, but the team didn’t think he was worth a roster spot.
3. The young cornerbacks didn’t show enough
Source: Cowboys are releasing CB Donovan Olumba— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 31, 2019
Things were looking up for rookie Mike Jackson...well, at least for a minute.
Source: Cowboys are releasing rookie CB Mike Jackson— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 31, 2019
While we’ve been debating over which of these young, big corners would beat out the other one for the last corner spot, it didn’t dawn on us that the Cowboys might pass on both of them, but that’s exactly what they did.
THREE THINGS WE STILL NEED ANSWERS TO
1. Who’s returning after Connor McGovern gets placed on injured reserve?
We will find out soon enough which player is lucky number 54 as the team will be able to add another player once McGovern officially goes on IR. Any guesses?
While it’s good news right now, that player would appear to be next in line to be released when Robert Quinn is reinstated from his suspension. Of course, a lot can change in two weeks.
2. Who makes the practice squad?
There were several cuts we weren’t expecting to see, and many of us are hoping they survive waivers and make it to the practice squad. Some notable players are:
The great news is most of these players will make it back. It may sting a little when some don’t, but these things usually turn out better than expected. My fingers are crossed for Wilson, Covington, and Wise - what about you?
One Cool Customer breaks down these recent cuts and examines which players are most likely to get claimed.
3. When is Zeke coming back?
Sure, someone will have to go to make room for Elliott when he finally signs his new contract extension, but that’s going to get lost in the excitement that comes with having their All-Pro running back on the field. Will it be sometime this weekend? The middle of next week?
Hopefully, it happens soon because the Cowboys have a Super Bowl journey to begin next Sunday and it would be nice to have Zeke helping them kick things off.