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Cowboys 53-man roster, practice squad prediction ahead of OTAs

The Dallas Cowboys begin their offseason work in earnest on Monday. The club has been through Phase One and Phase Two of the allowable offseason schedule up until this point. That allows the team to have install meeetings, strength and conditioning work along with rehab, escalating to on-field work at a walk-through pace.

As of Monday, they will have several sessions where they can go at full speed, just without contact, doing 7-on-7, 9-on-9 and 11-on-11. It will give the coaching staff and front office a chance to test the theories they’ve developed over the last month of who will really be able to help them in 2023.

There are always going to be surprises, but it’s still a fun exercise to stop along the way and predict who will be part of the club’s efforts to bring home Lombardi No. 6. Here are our thoughts, position by position, on who makes the club’s original roster.

As it’s just OTAs, several categories we use in our closer-to-the-season predictions are removed here, including “Making it, but moving to IR”, “Cut but coming right back”, “Cut to go to practice squad” and “Going to PUP/NFI/Season-ending IR.”

Quarterbacks (2)

I’m sure he’s on the team: Dak Prescott

Pretty sure he makes it: Cooper Rush

Cut to go to practice squad: Will Grier

Position Notes: Nothing to see here. The Cowboys told us they were going to draft a QB and then it appears the options dried up in the fifth round. Same story as 2022 with this group.

 

Running Backs (3)

I’m sure he’s on the team: Tony Pollard

Pretty sure he makes it: Duece Vaughn, Hunter Luepke

Cut to go to practice squad: Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle

Cut cut: Ronald Jones, Jr.

Position Notes: Many folks think Jones is destined for the roster to have a veteran presence on it aside from Pollard. That makes a ton of sense, I just don’t think Jones is it.  This configuration may change if they acquire another veteran back somewhere along the process but if not, I have no qualms.

 

Wide Receivers (7)

I’m sure he’s on the team: CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert

Pretty sure he makes it: Simi Fehoko, Antonio Calloway, Kavontae Turpin

Cut to go to practice squad: Jalen Moreno-Cropper, David Durden

Cut cut: Jalen Brooks, Dontario Drummond, Jose Barbon, Dennis Houston

Position Notes: Several tough cuts here. Dallas will take the annual risk where the draftniks swear a UDFA won’t clear waivers and he inevitably does. That’s Durden and JMC here, but if either are snatched that would open space on the PS16+1 for Houston or Drummond.

 

Tight Ends (3)

I’m sure he’s on the team: Jake Ferguson, Luke Schoonmaker, Peyton Hendershot

Cut to go to practice squad: Princeton Fant

Cut cut: Sean McKeon, Seth Green, Ian Bunting

Position Notes: It’s tough to cut McKeon but it’s tougher to imagine the Cowboys spending the draft pedigree they did on Schoonmaker while convincing themselves they need a veteran fourth TE on the roster. Trust the coach.

 

Offensive Line

I’m sure he’s on the team: Tyler Smith, Tyron Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Terence Steele, Matt Waletzko, Chuma Edoga

Pretty sure he makes it: Matt Farniok, Asim Richards

Cut to go to practice squad: Josh Ball, Earl Bostic, Jr., T.J. Bass

Cut cut: Brock Hoffman, Alex Taylor, Alec Lindstrom

Position Notes: The interesting thing with OL is that assumptions are often made on previous evidence but nobody knows how new OL coach Mike Solari feels about any of the incumbents. This could easily see guys who are afterthoughts get renewed opportunity and also down-roster guys get a chance to grow with new techniques being taught and different requirements being asked of them.

 

Edge Players

I’m sure he’s on the team: Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Sam Williams, Dorance Armstrong

Pretty sure he makes it: Dante Fowler

Cut to go to practice squad: Tyrus Wheat

Cut cut: Tak McKinley, Durrell Johnson

Position Notes: The draft likely worked out well for Fowler’s chances to make the club, but it will be an interesting battle between he and McKinley for the rotational veteran role. The Cowboys have pass-rush ability out of a couple players at the linebacker spot, allowing them to go relatively thin here, so maybe only four make the roster if Dallas goes heavy elsewhere.

 

Interior Defensive Linemen

I’m sure he’s on the team: Mazi Smith, Osa Odighizuwa

Pretty sure he makes it: Johnathan Hankins, Chauncey Golston, Junior Fehoko

Cut to go to practice squad: Isaac Alarcon

Cut cut: Neville Gallimore, Quinton Bohanna

Position Notes: Gallimore being a healthy scratch for the playoffs says a lot about where his end-of-year stock was in the eyes of the staff. The drafting of Smith puts Bohanna in a competition with Hankins and the difference between the two’s play in 2022 was a wide gulf. Alarcon’s status as an International Pathway player allows his position change a chance to take hold.

 

Off-ball Linebackers

I’m sure he’s on the team: Leighton Vander Esch, Damone Clark, DeMarvion Overshown

Pretty sure he makes it: Jabril Cox, Isaiah Land

Cut to go to practice squad: Devin Harper

Cut cut: Malik Jefferson, Devante Bond

Position Notes: Linebackers don’t matter… but this could be a really fun group.

 

Cornerbacks/Defensive Backs

I’m sure he’s on the team: Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, Jourdan Lewis, DaRon Bland, Israel Mukuamu

Pretty sure he makes it: Kelvin Joseph, Eric Scott, Jr.

Cut to go to practice squad: C.J. Goodwin, Nahshon Wright, Myles Brooks

Cut cut: Isaac Taylor-Stuart

Position Notes: If “You can never have enough cornerbacks” was a roster prediction. Keep as many as can play in the league as you can. Goodwin goes to the PS as a special teamer who will be elevated until he has to be brought over to the big roster and there’s the inevitable space thanks to someone going on IR. Predicting Joseph has a solid camp after all the turmoil of last offseason making Wright the odd man out.

 

Safeties

I’m sure he’s on the team: Donovan Wilson, Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker

Pretty sure he makes it: Markquese Bell

Cut to go to practice squad: Juanyeh Thomas, Tyler Coyle

Cut cut: Sheldrick Redwine

Position Notes: It’s truly amazing to see how much Dan Quinn has changed the front-office philosophy. The team starts caring about safety again and voila, top defenses galore.

 

Special Teams

I’m sure he’s on the team: LS Trent Sieg

Pretty sure he makes it: K Trystan Vizcaino, P Bryan Anger

Cut cut:

Position Notes: Two different approaches here. It’s harad to imagine Vizcaino beating out… anyone Dallas brings in, but we’ll see. On the opposite side, the Cowboys will bring in someone to take the wear and tear off Anger and potentially replace his hefty salary.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire