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Analyzing Cowboys’ current roster to determine which positions are up for grabs in 2022

Which players are inked or penciled in on the depth chart for the Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

There is currently a cloud of mystery surrounding the Dallas Cowboys as it pertains to their roster. While there a lot of players returning who were expected to reprise their starting roles, there is also quite a bit of roster turnover that could take place during the offseason. Because of that, we are going to take a gander at the roster to analyze which names should be written in ink or pencil to help determine what starting jobs could be up for grabs.


OFFENSE

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Inked in

  • QB Dak Prescott
  • LT Tyron Smith
  • RG Zack Martin
  • RT Terence Steele
  • TE Dalton Schultz
  • WR (X) CeeDee Lamb

Every single one of the players mentioned above is the unquestionable starter at their position, and as such, should be written in ink on the depth chart.

Penciled in

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott
  • C Tyler Biadasz

It’s unlikely Zeke plays second fiddle to Tony Pollard in 2022, but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed the starting job either. Money says he’s one of the best running backs in the entire league, however, his continued dip in production over the past few seasons says otherwise. Pollard on the other hand has continued to produce on limited carries and could push for even more this year.

Tyler Biadasz is pretty close to being an unquestioned starter heading into the 2022 season. But, that doesn’t mean he will be pushed by the Cowboys second-year players, Matt Farniok or Braylon Jones, or one of the undrafted free agents, Alec Lindstrom or James Empey. This actually could be an interesting position battle to watch throughout the remainder of the offseason.

Up for grabs

  • LG
  • Y and slot WR

The LG job is likely Tyler Smith’s job to lose considering he’s the Dallas’ first-round pick this year, but in no way does that mean he should be considered a Day 1 starter right now. Connor McGovern will also be given the opportunity to win the starting gig and don’t discount a veteran free agent coming in to solidify the position if Dallas doesn’t like what they see early on in practice from either player.

Other than CeeDee Lamb, the WR position is a complete mystery right now. James Washington, Jalen Tolbert, Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko are all in the mix to win either the Y or slot WR job, but so are any of the other WRs currently on the roster. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Dallas added an outside free agent to help stabilize the position until Michael Gallup gets back to 100%.


DEFENSE

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Inked in

  • LDE DeMarcus Lawrence
  • MLB Micah Parsons
  • MLB Leighton Vander Esch
  • RCB Trevon Diggs
  • LCB Anthony Brown
  • Slot CB Jourdan Lewis
  • SS Jayron Kearse
  • FS Malik Hooker

Not so surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys starting defense should look much the same as it did last year. They really didn’t add any players either through free agency or the draft who are capable of coming in and starting Day 1. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen between now and the start of the 2022 season. But for now, all of the players mentioned above are likely inked in at their respective positions on the depth chart right now.

Penciled in

  • DT (3-tech) Neville Gallimore
  • WLB Jabril Cox

Despite missing nearly half the season in 2021 with an elbow injury, Neville Gallimore was arguably still the Cowboys best defensive tackle. Because of that, he is likely penciled in as the starting 3-tech right now, but he won’t go unchallenged either. There is depth behind him who could push for the starting gig prior to the start of the season.

Right now, it looks as if the Cowboys are putting all their eggs in one basket at weak side linebacker. They are hoping Jabril Cox can rebound from his season-ending knee injury last year and play at a high level next to Micah Parsons in 2022. It’s a lot to ask for a player who didn’t played much on defense a season ago and is coming back off a pretty significant injury.

Up for grabs

  • RDE
  • DT (1-tech)

As things stand right now, the biggest mystery on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys is who replaces Randy Gregory at the right defensive in position in 2022. There is no shortage of players in the mix - Dorance Armstrong, Tarell Basham, Dante Fowler, De Williams, Chauncey Golston - but someone will have to distance themselves from the pack if they want to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence this season.

Carlos Watkins, who Dallas re-signed in the offseason, is probably the favorite to be the Cowboys starting 1-tech, but there are a couple of promising young players behind him on the depth chart who could push for the job. Quinton Bohanna and John Ridgeway could both be in the mix, but that all depends on whether or not they can catch the coaches eye during practice and prove themselves capable of handling job.


SPECIAL TEAMS

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Inked in

  • P Bryan Anger
  • LS Jake McQuaide

No big surprises here. Both Bryan Anger and Jake McQuaide were re-signed this off-season to reprise the role as the starting long snapper and punter for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. The only way this changes this is there is some unforeseen injury that occurs.

Up for grabs

  • K

It may not rank at the top of the position battles to watch throughout the remainder of the offseason, but who ends up earning the starting gig at kicker could end up being the difference between a few wins and losses this year. Chris Nagger and Jonathan Garibay have the opportunity to be Greg Zuerlein’s replacement, however, the Cowboys should leave no stone unturned in their search for their new starting kicker.