The deadline for the NFL 53 man roster is tomorrow, Saturday September 2nd at 3pm CST. There are several players that are on the borderline of making the team, which means some very tough and a couple of interesting decisions for Jerry and Stephen. At least, the specialists seem to be an easy decision, with Dan Bailey, Chris Jones & LP LaDouceur.
Let’s start with the offense.
Quarterback: It looks as if the Cowboys will have 3 quarterbacks on the roster again, with Moore & Rush backing up Dak.
Running Back/Fullback: Zeke be on the 53 man roster while suspended, but with his status changing almost daily I am securing him a spot on the 53. Darren McFadden looks to be the clear #2 RB. Rod Smith looks to make the roster, and being able to play RB, FB, and special teams will definitely help his chances. Considering the Cowboys had 4 RBs and 2 FBs last year, it would be a jump for them to go down to 4 backs total, especially with the Zeke question mark. Look for Alfred Morris to be on the team. Unfortunately for Keith Smith, both Rod Smith and Geoff Swaim can play his position, but there still may be room for him.
Wide Receiver: There is a lot of young talent in this group and it will be difficult to pick between them. Dez, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Brice Butler are locks to make the roster. I would throw Ryan Switzer in there as well. That is the number of wide receivers that were on the roster last year, but with Jerry saying he thinks Noah Brown will make the 53, look to have the Cowboys to have 6 receivers in 2017. Andy Jones was making a case for himself, but kept dropping balls.
Tight End: Witten, Hanna, and Swaim will be on the team. I can’t see any way that Jerry let’s any team have a shot at signing Rico Gathers. With Gathers recent concussion in practice, look for Gathers to be on IR, with the possibility of coming back to the team in mid-October.
Offensive Line: All pros Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick are back, and Lael Collins look to be the starting right tackle in place of Doug Free. Left Guard is still up for grabs, but Jonathan Cooper’s ability to stay on the field may have the oft-injured Chaz Green in a backup role. Joe Looney’s versatility to play multiple positions will keep him on the team. The Cowboys will probably keep Byron Bell for some added depth.
Now onto the Defense
Defensive End: Demarcus Lawrence looks to reclaim the Cowboys sack leader for the year title after a down year in 2016. Benson Mayowa looks to repeat as sack leader and Taco Charlton will have something to say about that as well. David Irving is suspended for the first 4 games, but will be back for the Packers game in week 5. Damontre Moore looked great in the preseason, and may have Charles Tapper on the practice squad.
Defensive Tackle: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford will be a good 3 man rotation in the middle of the defensive line. Cedric Thorton and Joey Ivie have the possibility to both make the roster, but will likely be only one of them securing a spot. Richard Ash will likely not make the team, as he was mostly signed to give rest to starters in week 17.
Linebacker: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson will be on the team. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys put Anthony Hitchens on the IR to open up another roster spot. Kyle Wilber and Mark Nzeocha look to make the team, but this may be a position that the Cowboys look for a trade or free agent as well.
Cornerback: No real standouts at this position, but looks to be Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis. Marquez White is a big maybe. Another position that team management could look elsewhere for talent.
Safety: Byron Jones will start, the other position is up for grabs. Will is be Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, or Xavier Woods. Robert Blanton will likely be the odd man out at the safety position.
QB: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore
RB/FB: Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, Keith Smith
WR: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown
TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim
OL: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, La’el Collins, Jonathan Cooper, Chaz Green, Joe Looney, Byron Bell
DE: DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa, Taco Charlton, David Irving, Damontre Moore
DT: Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thorton, Joey Ivie
LB: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Mark Nzeocha
CB: Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis
S: Byron Jones, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier
K: Dan Bailey
P: Chris Jones
LS: LP LaDouceur