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NFL.com weighs in on the Cowboys projected starters, and throws in a few surprises

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The composition of the Cowboys starters, as projected by NFL.com.

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Normally around now, we would have a rookie minicamp, some workouts at the Star, and other activities to help us predict what the Cowboys will look like in 2020. Absent that, everyone is just having to use intuition and their best guesses. Over at NFL.com, they predicted the starting lineups of each NFC East team.

For the Cowboys, there are a few obvious questions/battles to take place. Who will be the starting center? Who will be the three main cornerbacks? What about defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence?

You can check out their starters here, but let’s cover the ones where there is some question.

At center, the author, Gregg Rosenthal, opts for the experience of Joe Lonney. As has been noted previously, there is an expectation that Looney, 2020 draft pick Tyler Biadasz, and second-year man Connor McGovern will be in competition for the spot vacated by Travis Frederick. Looney manned the spot in 2018 during Frederick’s absence, and while he was serviceable, there was a noted drop off in the middle. Still, his experience at the pro level could give him the leg up in the competition.

But don’t despair for McGovern, Rosenthal has him beating out the other Connor, Williams, at left guard. Williams hasn’t exactly locked down his spot on the line, even being benched for a brief time in favor of Xavier Su’a-Filo. Could the other Connor make Williams a backup?

At defensive end, Tyrone Crawford is the pick. That’s the safe bet, but as Rosenthal notes, the Cowboys would like either Randy Gregory or Aldon Smith, or both, to return to action and take over the right defensive end position.

At cornerback, Rosenthal goes with Trevon Diggs, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown. It looks like you can count this as a vote for not moving Awuzie to safety. It also pushes Brown ahead of Jourdan Lewis at the slot corner.

The final analysis is that the Cowboys offense will be special, but that the defense is definitely hit or miss. He uses the examples of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith as examples. They were great in 2018, not great in 2019. The Cowboys defense is obviously the question mark.

What do you make of this starting roster?