Breaking Down Current Roster, Position By Position


FRISCO, Texas –The Cowboys' 53-man roster is never final. Not when executive vice president Stephen Jones tells us, over and over, that player acquisition is a 365-day-a-year proposition.

The Cowboys have already made a couple of tweaks since Saturday's cut to 53 players, and more moves will be made throughout the season. But, as of late Sunday, here's a closer look at the current 53:

Quarterback (3)

Dak Prescott - Cooper Rush - Mike White

Breakdown: From a numbers standpoint, Cooper Rush didn't come close to replicating his league-best six preseason touchdown passes from last year. In four games, he threw one TD and four interceptions. But the Cowboys still have Rush penciled in as Prescott's backup and White, their fifth-round draft pick, in the No. 3 spot. White looked more comfortable and decisive in the final two preseason games.

Running Back (3)

Ezekiel Elliott - Rod Smith - Jamize Olawale (FB)

Breakdown: Keeping two true running backs seems light, but it's no secret Elliott will play the vast majority of the offensive snaps. In a pinch, Olawale can probably play some tailback. Wide receiver Tavon Austin has 184 career carries as a mismatch player. And the Cowboys signed Darius Jackson to the practice squad as insurance.

Wide Receiver (6):

Cole Beasley - Tavon Austin - Allen Hurns - Michael Gallup - Terrance Williams - Noah Brown

Breakdown: So much competition, and yet, no real shockers here. Deonte Thompson's release was a surprise given his speed and history with receivers coach Sanjay Lal. But overall, this is a logical combination of experience and promise.

Gallup, the only rookie in the group, has a chance to play meaningful snaps. Brown is a solid special teams player and run blocker when healthy, but he missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury.

Tight End (4):

Geoff Swaim - Blake Jarwin - Dalton Schultz - Rico Gathers

Breakdown: Gathers showed enough improvement that the Cowboys didn't want to risk putting him through waivers. It remains to be seen if he can crack the 46-man game-day roster. Swaim has been the starter from Day One in camp, Jarwin has shown downfield receiving traits, and the team invested a fourth-round pick in Schultz hoping he'll develop into a complete player.

Offensive Line (9):

Tyron Smith - Connor Williams - Travis Frederick - Zack Martin - La'el Collins - Joe Looney - Cameron Fleming - Parker Ehinger -Adam Redmond

Breakdown: The Cowboys acquired Ehinger from Kansas City earlier in the week and added more interior line depth by claiming Adam Redmond off waivers from Buffalo. (Kadeem Edwards was waived to make room.) Frederick stays on the active roster, though moving him to injured reserve for a minimum of eight weeks is an option while he recovers from Guillain-Barre syndrome. The team feels good about Looney as Frederick's interim replacement at center, and Martin (hyperextended knee) should be ready for next Sunday's opener. Fleming is the projected swing tackle behind Smith and Collins.

Defensive Line (9)

DeMarcus Lawrence - Tyrone Crawford - Maliek Collins - Randy Gregory - Taco Charlton - Antwaun Woods - Dorance Armstrong - Daniel Ross - Datone Jones

Breakdown: The Cowboys waived Brian Price on Sunday to make room for waiver claims, and Jones (knee), another starting-caliber defensive tackle, might be a candidate for injured reserve. The Cowboys are optimistic that Collins (foot) will be ready for the opener, but Woods and Ross provide important tackle depth, along with Crawford's versatility. David Irving has been moved to the Reserve/Suspended list and must sit out the first four games.

Linebacker (7)

Sean Lee - Jaylon Smith - Joe Thomas - Leighton Vander Esch - Damien Wilson - Justin March-Lillard - Chris Covington

Breakdown: This is arguably the deepest position on the roster, even with first-round pick Vander Esch (groin) sidelined the last two weeks. Thomas had an outstanding camp, and his position flex eases the spring free-agent departure of Anthony Hitchens. March-Lillard and Covington, a sixth-round pick, figure to be core special team contributors.

Defensive Backs (9)

Chidobe Awuzie - Byron Jones - Anthony Brown - Jourdan Lewis - Jeff Heath - Xavier Woods - Kavon Frazier - Tyree Robinson

Breakdown: The Cowboys went a little light here initially but added safety depth Sunday by claiming Ibraheim Campbell off waivers from the Texans. Woods, the starting free safety, is likely to miss at least Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Frazier, his backup, will look to play through a shoulder injury. Campbell brings experience with 11 career starts in four seasons. Robinson, an undrafted rookie, played well with more reps late in preseason.

Special Teams (3)

Brett Maher - Chris Jones - L.P. Ladouceur

Breakdown: For the first time in years, this depth chart can't be copied and pasted. The Cowboys shocked, well, everyone by releasing Dan Bailey, who had a solid camp after struggling in the last half of the 2017 season. Maher has never made a regular-season NFL kick, but perhaps the Cowboys are projecting that the 28-year-old is on the upswing at a much cheaper salary. The rest of the kicking operation remains intact with Jones and Ladouceur.