Earlier we took a look at our 53 man roster projection for the Cowboys offense, now here’s our take on who makes the team on defense. Of course the caveat to all of these positions is the fact that Dallas will assuredly be working the phones before September 5th and scouring the waiver wire on that day to see who is available to improve their team. Players with value might be protected in order to put in a trade for another position, or set to be released to make room for someone else. None of that can be predicted, so this list simply is about who will most help the team barring any additional moves.
Full 53 Man Projection
DL: 10 on the defensive line? Ehh. The team wants waves of defenders up front, and it’s extremely tough to make a case for more impact from other players at other positions. Ben Gardner was the last to be added to the 53, and with Practice Squad eligibility, it wouldn’t surprise if a linebacker were to make the club as a special teamer instead of him. It’s just we haven’t seen a lick of the LB next up on that list yet, so for now, no dice. There’s a lot of pass rush ability in this group, everyone save for Marinelli-darling Nick Hayden has that skillset. What a difference a year makes. LB: The money paid to Jasper Brinkley will probably earn him a roster spot, but he doesn’t deserve it based on preseason performance. Mark Nzeocha hasn’t made an appearance yet, but his draft pedigree will put him on the PS. When one watches this position group, they must mutter to themselves “We haven’t seen Sean Lee. We haven’t seen Rolando.” CB: The million dollar question lies here. Dallas was probably set to take six corners to the 53, with the position flex of Corey White and Byron Jones. Will they take Joel Ross or Steeples now that Scandrick is done for the year? Can’t see it happening. S: What I can see happening is that both Jeff Heath and Danny McCray make the squad as special teams specialists.
For the write-up on the offensive position groups, go here.
This roster makeup would leave the following players as the “meat” of the special team units: three tight ends (Escobar, Hanna, Swaim), two running backs (Johnson, Clutts), two safeties (McCray, Heath), three linebackers (Gachkar, Smith, Wiber) and two corners (Corey White, Tyler Patmon). Considering his draft pedigree, it’s a fair question whether the team would put Byron Jones on special teams even if he doesn’t start. Will that appease Rich Bisaccia? If so, then there is room to carry six wideouts and 10 defensive linemen.
On Saturday, we’ll get a real glimpse of who the Cowboys plan to have on their special teams units, and that will go a long way to answering how the bottom of the roster will shake out. Keep your eyes open.