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Scout’s Notebook: Taking A Crack At The 53-Man Roster
IRVING, Texas – As I write this story for DallasCowboys.com, there is a personnel meeting going on down the hall from me.
Having sat in that room for a number of years, the feelings I had never changed. Along with the draft, this was the most important day of a scout’s year. In this meeting with Jerry and Stephen Jones, there is going to be a healthy debate on how this roster is going to be shaped.
For five weeks there have been meetings, practices and games to evaluate to put together the best 53 players for the upcoming season. There is going to be a time where a coach is not going to agree with a scout and vice versa, but in the end, both parties have to put their feelings aside and do what is right for this organization.
I no longer sit in those meetings, but I still have a strong enough feeling of what this team might try and do in selecting its best 53 players. So with that being said, here is my crack at the roster.
Tony Romo and Kyle Orton
I understand the thoughts of trying to keep Alex Tanney as the third quarterback on this roster but I need his spot on the roster to help me try and win games now. This club is too banged up injury wise to carry him on this roster. My hope is to get him to the practice squad. If it works out great, if not I am moving on. That’s just part of the NFL you deal with.
Wide Receivers: 5
Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley
There was a side of me that was trying to get Anthony Armstrong on this squad as the fifth receiver but Beasley is just too valuable to the offense to put him on the street. Another position that you would like to carry an extra player but numbers play a factor here.
Tight Ends: 4
Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Dante Rosario
Andre Smith would be an option here but he doesn’t play all the positions on the offense and the coaches have confidence in Rosario on special teams even though I thought he had a rough night against the Texans. Just a gut feeling but Smith has played well enough to be a guy that you would consider claiming.
Offensive Line: 10
Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Phil Costa, Nate Livings, David Arkin, Darrion Weems
I am not totally comfortable with that final spot because they could decide they still want to work with Demetress Bell but I am going with the younger Weems, who I believe has more to work with. That last spot could also come down to a waiver claim. But we need to remember is that if Free plays at guard, this club is going to need a swing tackle. I kept Livings because his salary is guaranteed. However, he could be a candidate for IR, which would give the Cowboys an open spot.
Running Backs: 4
DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, Joseph Randle
Two of the four backs play major roles on the special teams. There is a side of me that believes that we might not see Dunbar in this opening game against the Giants, so Tanner and Randle will be asked to help Murray get through this game.
Defensive Line: 9
Demarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen, Jason Vega
I feel better about the starting four with Spencer in the lineup over Selvie. Hayden will give the defense nice effort inside and if Bass can continue to play like he did against the Texans, then the nickel pass rush will be better. My surprise in this group is that the front office decides to keep Jason Vega which means that Sean Lissemore is out of the mix. Like Cohen, there is something to Vega’s game that interests me. In Lissemore’s spot you can play Cohen at the one behind Hayden. Like the offensive line, this is a position that you could see a waiver claim or two.
Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, DeVonte Holloman, Ernie Sims, Cameron Lawrence
I had no trouble with five of the six that I wanted to keep, it was that sixth spot that had me thinking. As much as I thought that Brandon Magee could have been a factor on this roster after the draft, it just hasn’t been the case. I didn’t see that nose for the ball until they played against Arizona then he suffered a concussion in practice the following Monday after the Arizona game. I really believed that he was going to be more active but that just wasn’t the case. Cameron Lawrence has made plays and when he has been asked to play snaps, he has done a nice job. I believe he gives you something as a backup linebacker and potetional core special teamer. He gets my last spot over Magee.
Defensive Backs: 10
Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Will Allen, Barry Church, B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore, J.J. Wilcox, Orlando Scandrick, Jeff Heath, Eric Frampton
At that this position, I kept Frampton over McCray because I know that he can be a core special teamer but I also felt like that he could play snaps in the secondary and be productive doing it. With two rookie safeties behind Allen and Church, I needed that veteran player and I just felt better about Frampton doing that job. There also might be a consideration of savings between the two that I have to measure.
Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur
No questions with this group. Solid.