clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Updated Cowboys 53-man roster projection after second preseason game

Between injuries and ongoing performance evaluations, how the eventual Dallas roster shaping up?

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have a second preseason game under their belts and one more to go. Final cuts are about a week away, so how do the latest injuries and other events appear to be impacting the team’s eventual roster decisions?

Last week, we took stock of everything that had happened in camp up to that point and what we saw against the Jaguars. Now we have last Saturday’s loss to the Seahawks to factor in, plus some unfortunate injuries. At least one of those lost players, LB DeMarvion Overshown, was a lock to make this year’s team.

Quarterback (3)

Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Will Grier

Much to the chagrin of some, Grier remains on our projected roster. If the nightmare scenario of both Prescott and Rush getting hurt in the same game happens, Grier can’t help the team from the practice squad. If you look back on Mike McCarthy’s career he’s generally had three QBs on his rosters. It may feel like a luxury, and the odds are low he’ll ever actually play, but quarterback is where every “what if” is the most dangerous.

Running Back (3)

Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn

Dowdle seems to be cementing his spot and pushing Malik Davis back to the practice squad. Ronald Jones is sounding doubtful to participate at all the next two weeks and that, plus his two-game PED suspension, may have sealed his fate. Dowdle and Vaughn are looking like a solid combination for depth and other roles.

Wide Receiver (6)

CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup
Jalen Tolbert, KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Brooks

Brooks hasn’t shown up in the preseason games the way he’d been lighting up the practice field, but the coaches certainly know the full body of work. It’s harder to forgive a third-year guy like Simi Fehoko for not making his presence felt in these games. With Turpin now factoring in as an offensive option, this six feels pretty certain.

Tight End (4)

Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot, Luke Schoonmaker
Sean McKeon

If John Stephens was going to push his way onto the roster, an ACL tear in Seattle ended that possibility. Last week we only had three TEs making it and FB Hunter Luepke on the squad, but it would seem that McKeon is the favored option for backfield blocking and thus makes the roster over the rookie.

Offensive Line (9)

Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Zack Martin
Tyler Biadasz, Terence Steele, Brock Hoffman
Josh Ball, Asim Richards, Matt Farniok

You could probably stick at least one “TBD” in this group as Dallas should pursue some help in the coming weeks. Chuma Edoga only hyperextended his knee but may not be ready for Week 1. Matt Waletzko is now dealing with a shoulder issue and could land on injured reserve again as a roster stash. They need more OT help, but keep in mind that Tyler Smith is really your backup left tackle.

Defensive Line (9)

DeMarcus Lawrence, Mazi Smith, Osa Odighizuwa
Sam Williams, Chauncey Golston, Dorance Armstrong
Dante Fowler, Johnathan Hankins, Villami Fehoko

It’s conceivable that Dante Fowler gets dropped for UDFA standout Isaiah Land, especially with Fehoko also looking like he might deserve some reps. Fowler is a Dan Quinn guy and won’t be discarded lightly. They also might decide they want Quinton Bohanna or Neville Gallimore as one more big body and Fowler feels like the fall guy there as well.

Linebacker (5)

Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Damone Clark
Jabril Cox, Devin Harper

Overshown’s injury hurts here. If Parsons remains a pass rusher primarily, the rookie was looking like the third man behind Vander Esch and Clark. Now the team will hope that Cox can at least get back to his rookie form and that Harper is ready for some real snaps. We could see Overshown’s roster spot go to protecting Isaiah Land on the 53, but the ripple effect probably occurs at safety.

Defensive Backs (11)

Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, DaRon Bland
Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson
Israel Mukuamu, Eric Scott, Juanyeh Thomas
Markquese Bell, C.J. Goodwin

As projected last week, Jourdan Lewis starts the year on PUP so isn’t listed here. It allows Dallas to protect some young assets through final cuts and then see where things are after Lewis sits the mandatory four weeks. Getting him back for 13 games is still plenty, especially if he was going to only be CB4 anyway.

The ripple effect from the Overshown injury puts Markquese Bell on the roster. With Juanyeh Thomas rising as a better candidate to back up Hooker as the deep safety, Bell was starting to feel extra behind Kearse and Wilson. Now Dallas may be asking their big safeties to down even more on passing downs as hybrid linebackers, and that suits Bell’s game nicely. He might’ve been making it anyway, but this certainly helps his chances.

Special Teams (3)

Brandon Aubrey (K), Bryan Anger (P), Trent Sieg (LS)

It would seem that Aubrey is the guy until something bad happens. Hopefully, it doesn’t cost the Cowboys a regular season game in the process. But unless the rookie has some kind of epic meltdown this Saturday against the Raiders, no foreseeable change is coming.

Keep in mind that Dallas may do a few funny things at final cuts to get around NFL rules regarding injured reserve and other designations. For example, let’s say they want to put OL Chuma Edoga on IR but with the option to bring him back during the season. They might cut LS Trent Sieg to carry Edoga on the 53, making him eligible to return, and then move him to IR and re-sign Sieg later in the week.

So no, these projections aren’t about who survives final cuts but more who actually has jobs when all the smoke clears a few days later.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys