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Dallas Cowboys 2021 preseason guide: 90-man roster, jersey numbers, and position battles to watch

Your cheat sheet for the Dallas Cowboys 2021 preseason.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Get your popcorn ready! The Dallas Cowboys are back in action Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame game. It may be just a preseason game, but it’s the first opportunity we have to see this year’s team in action and hopefully rid ourselves of their deplorable play from last year.

Thursday night will be here before we know it, so a little cheat sheet for who is who in the upcoming preseason is always a good idea. With so many new faces joining the team this offseason and new numbers to keep track of, here is an easy way to find out who’s wearing what number, broken down by position.

Presenting our Cowboys 2021 preseason guide, with all numbers and positions courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys official website.


2021 preseason schedule


QUARTERBACK

4 Dak Prescott

3 Garrett Gilbert

10 Cooper Rush

7 Ben DiNucci

Prescott is the unquestioned starter, but should probably be closely monitored throughout the rest of training camp and preseason. There’s no reason to further risk him to injury. With the exception of Tyler Biadasz at center, this is the exact same offense he played with last year. That leaves only the backup QB to be determined. Right now it looks like it’s Gilbert’s to lose, so if he struggles it’s more than likely the Cowboys look for outside help because Rush and DiNucci don’t look to be the answer either.


RUNNING BACK

21 Ezekiel Elliott

20 Tony Pollard

34 Rico Dowdle

36 Brenden Knox

37 JaQuan Hardy

With Zeke and Tony Pollard all but set in stone as Dallas’ top two RBs, it will be interesting to see what happens behind them. The Cowboys will more than likely carry three running backs this year, so the position battle for the remaining spot could be interesting to watch. Odds are it’s Dowdle’s to lose, but Knox and Hardy could make the competition interesting.


FULLBACK

45 Sewo Olonilua

46 Nick Ralston

The Dallas Cowboys went without a fullback on the active roster in 2020 and could very well go without one this year also. Both Olonilua and Ralston have their work cut out for them if they want to convince the Cowboys to carry a FB this season and each one of them has their own intriguing qualities to make this position battle one worth watching.


WIDE RECEIVER

19 Amari Cooper

13 Michael Gallup

88 CeeDee Lamb

1 Cedrick Wilson

85 Noah Brown

6 Johnnie Dixon

14 Osirus Mitchell

15 T.J. Vasher

16 Stephen Guidry

17 Malik Turner

18 Aaron Parker

80 Brandon Smith

81 Simi Fehoko

83 Brennan Eagles

Do the Dallas Cowboys carry five or six receivers on the active roster in 2021? If they carry just five it may be the same as last year with Cooper, Gallup, Lamb, Wilson, and Brown. Brown could possibly be challenged for that last spot, however, his special teams ability gives him added value. Of course, if one of the other WRs really stands out in preseason the Cowboys would have to decide whether or not to keep Brown or go six deep at WR this season.


TIGHT END

86 Dalton Schultz

89 Blake Jarwin

47 Nick Eubanks

49 Artayvious Lynn

84 Sean McKeon

87 Jeremy Sprinkle

The position battle to be the Cowboys TE1 this year comes down to Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin. Either one is more than capable of being the starter in 2021, but the more interesting competition might be taking place behind them on the depth chart. Dallas will likely carry three TEs on the active roster this season and who emerges to claim that last roster spot will be worth monitoring throughout the rest of training camp and preseason.


OFFENSIVE LINE

77 Tyron Smith

70 Zack Martin

63 Tyler Biadasz

52 Connor Williams

71 La’el Collins

60 Isaac Alarcon

62 Braylon Jones

66 Connor McGovern

67 Eric Smith

68 Matt Farniok

69 Brandon Knight

76 Josh Ball

78 Terence Steele

79 Ty Nsekhe

Staying healthy will be key to the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. If they can stay healthy this unit should once again be one of the better o-lines in the league, but if not depth will once again be tested like it was last year. Dallas seems to be in much better standing depth wise at tackle right now. In Nsekhe, Steele, Ball, and Knight they have several capable backups, all of which are competing to be the swing tackle this year. On the interior though things aren’t as clear. The Cowboys have Connor McGovern, who could be a swing OG/C, but other than that look to be thin at both guard and center behind the starters. Knight has gotten some looks on the inside.


DEFENSIVE END

56 Bradlee Anae

59 Chauncey Golston

90 DeMarcus Lawrence

92 Dorance Armstrong

93 Tarell Basham

94 Randy Gregory

97 Ron’Dell Carter

DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have a chance to be one of the better pass rushing duos in the entire league this year, but don’t expect to see a lot of them in preseason. Instead, the Cowboys will more than likely give some of their young DEs the opportunity to prove themselves to find out what they have behind their two starters. This could be a position we see the Cowboys try to upgrade either via trade or when roster cuts are made. Right now their depth behind D-Law and Gregory is sadly young and unproven.


DEFENSIVE TACKLE

58 Austin Faoliu

72 Trysten Hill

75 Osa Odighizuwa

91 Carlos Watkins

95 Brent Urban

96 Neville Gallimore

98 Quenton Bohanna

99 Justin Hamilton

As of right now, we haven’t heard much about how the Dallas Cowboys new additions along the defensive line are looking. Preseason will provide the first opportunity to see for ourselves whether or not they really have upgraded the position from a season ago or if it’s much of the same. Someone is going to have to step up and emerge from the pack in these four preseason games, because no one seems to be the clear-cut starter right now That of course could change quickly the closer we get to the season opener against Tampa Bay.


LINEBACKER

9 Jaylon Smith

11 Micah Parsons

42 Keanu Neal

43 Azur Kamara

48 Jabril Cox

51 Anthony Hines III

53 Francis Benard

55 Leighton Vander Esch

57 Luke Gifford

Linebacker could possibly be the most interesting position to watch in preseason. No one really knows how things are going to shake out or how Dan Quinn plans to deploy any of the LBs right now. Micah Parsons in particular is someone to keep an eye on. He should play a vital and versatile role this year as a rookie. However, they may keep things simple for him in preseason to help him get the feel of things before the games start to matter. Regardless, watching the linebackers throughout preseason should be fun and exciting.


CORNERBACK

24 Kelvin Joseph

26 Jourdan Lewis

27 Trevon Diggs

29 C.J. Goodwin

30 Anthony Brown

31 Maurice Canady

33 Deonte Burton

36 Kyron Brown

40 Nahshon Wright

41 Reggie Robinson II

Other than Trevon Diggs, the Dallas Cowboys have their work cut out for them trying to figure out who their starting corners will be for the 2021 season. They have a good mixture of youth with a little bit experience, but no one has really stood out from the rest as a clear-cut favorite to start opposite Diggs. Don’t be surprised to see several combinations of these players mixed in and out of the lineup in preseason while they try to find the right pairings. Because of that you might not want to much in who plays where or with him.


SAFETY

6 Donovan Wilson

23 Darian Thompson

25 Steven Parker

28 Malik Hooker

31 Jayron Kearse

35 Demontae Kazee

38 Israel Mukuamu

39 Tyler Coyle

Both in depth and talent, the Dallas Cowboys look to have upgraded the safety position significantly from a season ago. With Hooker added to the mix just recently, it’s going to be really interesting to see the competition between him, Wilson, and Kazee to see who starts at both SS and FS at the beginning of the season. It’s also going to be really interesting to see what the depth behind them looks like. It’s good to see Dallas at least attempt to upgrade the safety position after seemingly neglecting/undervaluing it for what seems like forever.


SPECIAL TEAMS

2 Greg Zuerlein

5 Bryan Anger

7 Hunter Niswander

44 Jake McQuaide

Not much to see here. Greg Zuerlein will be Dallas’ kicker unless for whatever reason he has lingering problems because of his offseason back surgery and Jake McQuaide will be the long snapper. The only thing really to watch here is whether or not Bryan Anger can come in and push aside Hunter Niswander to be the starting punter.