The preseason is officially over which means the Dallas Cowboys are going to play a football game of consequence soon.
Before we get there, though, this team is going to have to “finalize” their 53-man roster. The deadline to do so is Tuesday, August 31st at 4pm ET, but there will still be a few twists and turns that the roster takes over the following day or two before the dust on it ultimately settles.
We have put together a collection of six 53-man roster predictions from front-page writers here on the site (you can also view one here and another right here). There are some important considerations that you need to know first, though.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have four players on their Reserve/COVID-19 list
At the time of this publishing the Cowboys have four players on their Reserve/COVID-19 list: Carlos Watkins, CeeDee Lamb, Connor Williams, and Damontae Kazee. You can stay up to date with all things regarding the roster (including who is being cut and other players cut around the league that Dallas should look at right here).
Players on this particular list do not count against the roster from a numerical standpoint. Mike McCarthy said following the team’s preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars that he expects them all to be back by Thursday, but if they are on the list at Tuesday’s deadline then technically the Cowboys could carry another player in that spot so to speak.
Players must be on the initial roster in order to be brought back from injured reserve during the season
The Cowboys have already placed a few players on injured reserve, but doing so prior to the roster being set prevents those players from returning this season. They are “stashed” until 2022.
If Dallas wants to bring players back from injured reserve (remember that present rules allow for an unlimited number of players to be brought back throughout the season) then they must carry them on their initial 53-man roster.
Candidates to be carried initially only to be placed on injured reserve right away are Neville Gallimore, Josh Ball, and Sean McKeon.
Remember that currently Trysten HIll and Chauncey Golston are on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. These two players do not count against the 53-man roster and will have to remain on PUP for the first six weeks of the season.
Six different 53-man roster predictions!
In putting together 53-man roster predictions we asked these FPWs to allot for the COVID list players on the roster since they are ultimately going to be a part of it. Consider these predictions a hybrid of what things will look like Tuesday (as in carrying the players soon to be headed to IR) as well as what it will look like when things are finalized.
Since a number of roster spots will open up after things initially lock in we also asked each FPW to list their “last five cut” as in the players who might be brought back by the team.
Six different Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster predictions
|Blogging The Boys||RJ Ochoa||Dave Halprin||David Howman||Brian Martin||Tony Catalina||Tom Ryle|
|Blogging The Boys||RJ Ochoa||Dave Halprin||David Howman||Brian Martin||Tony Catalina||Tom Ryle|
|Dak Prescott||Dak Prescott||Dak Prescott||Dak Prescott||Dak Prescott||Dak Prescott|
|Cooper Rush||Garrett Gilbert||Garrett Gilbert||Cooper Rush||Garrett Gilbert||Cooper Rush|
|Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott||Ezekiel Elliott|
|Tony Pollard||Tony Pollard||Tony Pollard||Tony Pollard||Tony Pollard||Tony Pollard|
|Nick Ralston||Nick Ralston||Nick Ralston|
|Amari Cooper||Amari Cooper||Amari Cooper||Amari Cooper||Amari Cooper||Amari Cooper|
|Michael Gallup||Michael Gallup||Michael Gallup||Michael Gallup||Michael Gallup||Michael Gallup|
|CeeDee Lamb||CeeDee Lamb||CeeDee Lamb||CeeDee Lamb||Ceedee Lamb||CeeDee Lamb|
|Cedrick Wilson||Cedrick Wilson||Cedrick Wilson||Cedrick Wilson||Cedrick Wilson||Cedrick Wilson|
|Noah Brown||Noah Brown||Noah Brown||Noah Brown||Noah Brown||Noah Brown|
|Blake Jarwin||Blake Jarwin||Blake Jarwin||Blake Jarwin||Blake Jarwin||Blake Jarwin|
|Dalton Schultz||Dalton Schultz||Dalton Schultz||Dalton Schultz||Dalton Schultz||Dalton Schultz|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||Jeremy Sprinkle||Sean McKeon||Jeremy Sprinkle||Jeremy Sprinkle||Jeremy Sprinkle|
|Tyron Smith||Tyron Smith||Tyron Smith||Tyron Smith||Tyron Smith||Tyron Smith|
|Connor Williams||Connor Williams||Connor Williams||Connor Williams||Connor Williams||Connor Williams|
|Tyler Biadasz||Tyler Biadasz||Tyler Biadasz||Tyler Biadasz||Tyler Biadasz||Tyler Biadasz|
|Zack Martin||Zack Martin||Zack Martin||Zack Martin||Zack Martin||Zack Martin|
|La'el Collins||La'el Collins||La'el Collins||La'el Collins||La'el Collins||La'el Collins|
|Ty Nsekhe||Ty Nsehke||Ty Nsehke||Ty Nsekhe||Ty Nsekhe||Ty Nsekhe|
|Connor McGovern||Connor McGovern||Connor McGovern||Connor McGovern||Connor McGovern||Connor McGovern|
|Brandon Knight||Brandon Knight||Brandon Knight||Brandon Knight||Terence Steele||Terrance Steele|
|Terence Steele||Terence Steele||Terence Steele||Terence Steele||Brandon Knight||Branond Knight|
|Josh Ball||Matt Farniok||Matt Farniok||Josh Ball||Matt Farniok|
|DeMarcus Lawrence||DeMarcus Lawrence||DeMarcus Lawrence||DeMarcus Lawrence||Demarcus Lawrence||Demarcus Lawrence|
|Randy Gregory||Randy Gregory||Randy Gregory||Randy Gregory||Randy Gregory||Randy Gregory|
|Dorance Armstrong||Dorance Armstrong||Dorance Armstrong||Dorance Armstrong||Dorance Armstrong||Dorance Armstrong|
|Tarell Basham||Tarell Basham||Tarell Basham||Tarell Basham||Tarell Basham||Tarell Basham|
|Bradlee Anae||Bradlee Anae||Bradlee Anae||Bradlee Anae||Bradlee Anae||Bradlee Anae|
|RonDell Carter||RonDell Carter||Azur Kamara|
|Neville Gallimore||Neville Gallimore||Neville Gallimore||Neville Gallimore||Neville Gallimore||Neville Gallimore|
|Osa Odighizuwa||Osa Odighizuwa||Osa Odighizuwa||Osa Odighizuwa||Osa Osohhizuwa||Osa Odighizuwa|
|Carlos Watkins||Brent Urban||Brent Urban||Brent Urban||Brent Urban||Brent Urban|
|Brent Urban||Carlos Watkins||Carlos Watkins||Carlos Watkins||Carlos Watkins||Carlos Watkins|
|Quinton Bohanna||Quinton Bohanna||Quinton Bohanna||Quenton Bohanna||Quinton Bohanna||Qunton Bohanna|
|Micah Parsons||Micah Parsons||Micah Parsons||Micah Parsons||Micah Parsons||Micah Parsons|
|Leighton Vander Esch||Leighton Vander Esch||Leighton Vander Esch||Leighton Vander Esch||LVE||Leighton Vander Esch|
|Jaylon Smith||Jaylon Smith||Jaylon Smith||Jaylon Smith||Jaylon Smith||Jaylon Smith|
|Keanu Neal||Keanu Neal||Keanu Neal||Keanu Neal||Keanu Neal||Keanu Neal|
|Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox||Jabril Cox|
|Luke Gifford||Luke Gifford|
|Trevon Diggs||Trevon Diggs||Trevon Diggs||Trevon Diggs||Trevon Diggs||Trevon Diggs|
|Anthony Brown||Anthony Brown||Anthony Brown||Anthony Brown||Anthony Brown||Anthony Brown|
|Jourdan Lewis||Jourdan Lewis||Jourdan Lewis||Jourdan Lewis||Jourdan Lewis||Jourdan Lewis|
|Maurice Canady||Kelvin Joseph||Kelvin Joseph||Maurice Canady||Kelvin Joseph||Maurice Canady|
|C.J. Goodwin||Maurice Canady||Nahshon Wright||Kelvin Joseph||Maurice Canady||C.J. Goodwin|
|Kelvin Joseph||CJ Goodwin||Maurice Canady||Nahshon Wright||Nahshon Wright||Kelvin Joseph|
|Nahshon Wright||CJ Goodwin||C.J. Goodwin||CJ Goodwin|
|Donovan Wilson||Donovan Wilson||Donovan Wilson||Donovan Wilson||Donovan Wilson||Donovan Wilson|
|Damontae Kazee||Damontae Kazee||Damontae Kazee||Damontae Kazee||Damontae Kazee||Demontae Kazee|
|Malik Hooker||Malik Hooker||Malik Hooker||Malik Hooker||Malik Hooker||Malik Hooker|
|Jayron Kearse||Jayron Kearse||Jayron Kearse||Jayron Kearse||Jayron Kearse||Jayron Kearse|
|Darian Thompson||Darian Thompson||Darian Thompson||Israel Mukuamu||Darian Thompson|
|Israel Mukuamu||Israel Mukuamu|
|Greg Zuerlein||Greg Zuerlein||Greg Zuerlein||Greg Zuerlein||Greg Zuerlein||Greg Zuerlein|
|Jake McQuaide||Jake McQuaide||Jake McQuaide||Jake McQuaide||Jake Mcquaide||Jake McQuaide|
|Bryan Anger||Bryan Anger||Bryan Anger||Bryan Anger||Bran Anger|
|Last Five Cut|
|Ron'Dell Carter||Luke Gifford||Justin Hamilton||Nick Ralston||Simi Fehoko||Justin Hamilton|
|Simi Fehoko||Nahshon Wright||Jeremy Sprinkle||Luke Gifford||Azur Kamara||Ron'Dell Carter|
|Luke Gifford||Israel Mukuamu||Luke Gifford||Simi Fehoko||Malik Turner||Nahshon Wright|
|Azur Kamara||Simi Fehoko||Darian Thompson||Ron'Dell Carter||Darian Thompson||Israel Mukuamu|
|Nick Ralston||Justin Hamilton||Malik Turner||Sean McKeon||Ron'Dell Carter||Simi Fehoko|
You will note that I did not carry a punter on my own personal prediction. I’m assuming that the Cowboys are in fact interested in Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker should he become available, as has been speculated by some, but that even if he is not the future Cowboys punter that they will be able to bring Bryan Anger back. Maneuvering the roster can be tricky and you have to be smart with who you leave available after initial cuts.
What about the other FPWs? Here is what some of them had to say about their group.
My projection is heavy on special teams contributors. I may be overestimating the willingness of the staff to try and sneak draftees onto the practice squad, but I really think some more time for players like Nahshon Wright could be beneficial before they get thrown onto the field.
Between the players still on the Covid list and players who will be added to the IR shortly after the deadline, there will be a lot of things in flux the next few days. That said, it feels as if many of these roster spots are already more or less locked up.
The biggest thing I’m watching for? If Chauncey Golston gets activated from the PUP list or has to sit out the first six games. With other guys like Bradlee Anae, Dorance Armstrong, and Ron’Dell Carter in the mix for rotational roles on the edge, an early return for Golston could complicate things given how high the coaching staff seems to be on him.
The majority of the Cowboys roster has been set for a while, but there are a few spots in question as cuts loom. What complicates things more is the recent COVID-19 issues the team has gone through. I could see John Fassell winning some arguments in the meeting room to keep an extra special teams guy he likes such as Luke Gifford. A sixth WR is a possibility as well assumingely between Malik Turner and Simi Fehoko, but ultimately the Cowboys may like to go long at another position group such as safety or cornerback and force them to keep five receivers instead. Early on we will see the Cowboys try to use the COVID-19 situation to their advantage as they play chess with the roster moves, but look for them to also look to the wire to make additions, possibly at QB, as well.
We will know soon enough just how accurate each of our predictions were. There are always some sort of surprises, some are just a little bit more surprising than others.
We also put together a video on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel breaking down a projected 53-man roster and fleshed out some more thoughts on it there. Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!