Wrapping up our best guess of the Dallas Cowboys final roster
By Matthew Postins
Quarterback (2): Tony Romo, Kyle Orton
Who misses cut? Nick Stephens
Update: There may be no position group more locked down than quarterback. Romo is your starter and Orton, despite not having as sharp an offseason as some would like, is No. 2. Stephens is a practice squad candidate, but in truth he’s there to make sure Romo doesn’t get overworked. There’s a chance the Cowboys bring in a fourth quarterback to take reps for that purpose. But, barring injury, don’t expect much in the way of controversy here.
Running back (4): DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner.
Who misses cut? Kendial Lawrence.
Update: This position group becomes a little more competitive in the wake of the release of fullback Lawrence Vickers. Head coach Jason Garrett said the Dallas Cowboys are content to walk into Oxnard without a fullback. That means the battle for the No. 3 back really becomes the battle for the No. 4 back. That will keep Lawrence in the mix well into the preseason. When it comes to Dunbar and Lawrence, it might come down to which speedster the Cowboys like better. Murray and Randle are set. The other three are a bit more flexible.
Wide receivers (6): Anthony Armstrong, Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant, Dwayne Harris, Terrance Williams.
Who misses cut? Anthony Amos, Tim Benford, Danny Coale, Jared Green, Eric Rogers.
Update: There’s a pretty clear line in the sand here. Of the six receivers that I anticipate the Dallas Cowboys keeping, five logged significant time in the regular season a year ago. The sixth, Williams, is a third-round pick the Cowboys believe will contribute immediately. The five I anticipate not making it are all late-round picks or undrafted free agents, some of which have been hurt, which has stunted their development. Of the six that I have making the roster, Armstrong and Beasley are the most vulnerable. So who mounts a significant challenge to these two players? Keep an eye on Rogers, the rookie from Cal Lutheran. He put up big numbers in college and he didn’t act like OTA’s and mini-camp were too big for him.
Tight ends (4): Gavin Escobar, James Hanna, Dante Rosario, Jason Witten.
Who misses cut? Colin Cochart, Andre Smith.
Update: I had three tight ends here until yesterday. That’s when Garrett announced he was comfortable not having a fullback in camp. That may change. But given the Cowboys’ desire to run the 12-formation (one back and two tight ends) this year, it makes sense to keep four tight ends on the roster coming out of camp. Rosario is the bubble player here, but right now he has the experience and knowledge to hold off Cochart and Smith.
Offensive line (9): (Center) Travis Frederick, Phil Costa; (Guard) David Arkin, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ron Leary, Nate Livings; (Tackle) Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Tyron Smith.
Who misses cut? Ryan Cook, Kevin Kowalski, Ray Dominguez, Edawn Coughman, Darrion Weems.
Update: Again, there’s a pretty clear line here between those I think will make the team and those that won’t. But here’s the thing – most teams don’t keep nine linemen. I’m assuming that, because the Cowboys should keep just two running backs and won’t employ a fullback, there will be two open spots on offense. One goes to the extra tight end. The other goes to the offensive line. That allows the Cowboys to keep their veterans and their youngsters active during the season. If you’re looking at bubble guys, look at Bernadeau and Livings. Both missed some of the off-season program due to injuries and surgeries and Leary and Arkin are coming after them. Don’t be surprised if one of them loses a starting job. They could get cut, but only if the Cowboys don’t see them being able to contribute at all in 2013. That’s unlikely.
Am I right? Probably not completely. But that’s what training camp and the preseason are for.