ARLINGTON, Texas – This is the time of year when we all try to figure out the 53-man roster long before the Cowboys will actually trim it down next weekend.
The media does it, fans do it and I'm sure even the coaches and scouts within the organization have it somewhat figured out, too.
Our staff at DallasCowboys.com picked our 53 players on Friday, knowing things would change in these two last games.
So what happened Saturday? I don't know if there were major surprises but I counted a handful of guys who played their way off the bubble and onto the team.
Most of these players, I already had making the team, but with a little hesitation. But after this game, I think we can go ahead and Sharpie these guys onto the roster.
Taco Charlton – Of course, it has to start with Taco. This guy was probably going to make the team because not only do the Cowboys have question marks at end with Robert Quinn suspended and D-Law still coming off an injury, but Charlton's contract is guaranteed, so cutting him wouldn't make a lot of sense unless there were too many youngsters that were just better. Well, Charlton showed on Saturday that he's got a little something to prove and he did that in the first quarter. He made two sacks, another sack was nullified by a penalty, and also forced a fumble that led to a field goal. So he also suffered an ankle injury that needs to be addressed. Either way, Charlton did enough for the Cowboys to not even blink about his position.
C.J. Goodwin – If you get to talk to coaches and scouts like we do, you never think twice about putting Goodwin on the team. He's the special teams ace of this group and he proved that early in the game when he made a tackle on the punt coverage. But just in case there was a heated debate between C.J. Olumba and rookie Mike Jackson for a final cornerback spot and the Cowboys figured out a way to keep both of them, Goodwin put that to bed with his interception in coverage in the second quarter. That just proved that he's not just a special teams guy. He can probably play on defense if needed and that's all it takes when you're talking about your best special teams player.
Cooper Rush – He was always ahead of Mike White on the depth chart during camp, but sometimes, players have to fight off more than just the guys on the roster. If the Cowboys wanted more experience at the position, it's likely Rush could've stayed around as the No. 3. But what he showed again on Saturday, it's clear that Rush will be the backup to Dak Prescott. And he also showed that the Cowboys should be fine if he has to play. The way he threw the ball down the field was impressive and he's also got some athletic ability that will keep plays alive.
Kerry Hyder – Again, another player who was penciled into a roster spot that can probably be moved to ink. What he did in the second quarter is probably better than most starting defensive ends around the league. Hyder was living in the Texans' backfield all quarter, recording a sack and hitting the QB on another play that led to an incomplete pass. He was applying pressure on other plays that led to turnovers. This guy had an 8.5 sack season in Detroit a few years back and has been bothered by injuries for the past couple of years. But he has been one of the best pass-rushers on this team during camp. The only way he wasn't going to make it is if Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson and maybe Daniel Wise were too good to cut. But that didn't happen on Saturday and Hyder looked like Lawrence Taylor, so that's that.
Donovan Wilson – One more time, he probably was going to make it already. But after a beautiful interception and in a position to make another one that Goodwin picked off, it's safe to say Wilson is making this team. Better yet, he might be on the active game day roster as well as the third safety. Now, that could be a battle with Darian Thompson, who is probably a more polished special teams player, Wilson has been a playmaker in both games and the scrimmage, and has athletic ability that few players have at this position. What that means for Kavon Frazier is unknown, but Wilson has all but locked up his spot.
So, who didn't secure a roster spot? I would say it's still close between Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson. Depending on what happens with Noah Brown and his injury, maybe they both make it.
It'll be interesting on Wise and Jelks, but I'd say Joe Jackson has also made this team. Watch out for Justin Phillips at the bottom of the linebacker depth chart.