(Note: This is strictly a projected 53-man roster. We'll find out the real cuts Saturday. And I'm hedging a little bit, because there's always a chance the Cowboys get active on the waiver wire Sunday.)
QB (3) Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee Ditto from last year, with McGee taking another step forward in his development.
RB (5) Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Tashard Choice, Phillip Tanner, Chris Gronkowski Jerry Jones hinted at going heavy at running back. Have Gronkowski edging Shaun Chapas because his past tight end experience could help in certain packages while Bennett's out.
WR (5) Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Jesse Holley Not sure Raymond Radway would've beaten out Harris or Holley, but it was close. Manny Johnson is right on the verge yet again.
TE (3) Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips The hope here is Bennett won't miss too much time, because at 100 percent this is a deep position. Phillips is a steady and versatile backup to Witten.
OL (10) Doug Free, Bill Nagy, Phil Costa, Kyle Kosier, Tyron Smith, Montrae Holland, David Arkin, Jermey Parnell, Sam Young, Kevin Kowalski Going heavy on the offensive line, since they want to keep developing some of these young backups like Parnell and Young. Kowalski's performance against Minnesota was impressive, and he adds some depth at center aside from Kosier as an emergency option.
DL (6) Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, Josh Brent, Sean Lissemore Olshansky has been speculated as the next veteran cut, and it could very well happen if they're committed to developing Lissemore. Could go heavier, though, with Spears missing so much time.
LB (8) Anthony Spencer, Bradie James, Keith Brooking, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Victor Butler, Kenwin Cummings, Alex Albright Bruce Carter (knee) will start the season on NFI. Cummings adds some veteran depth at ILB, and Albright has been active on defense and special teams for most of preseason.
DB (9) Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Gerald Sensabaugh, Abram Elam, Orlando Scandrick, Alan Ball, Barry Church, Danny McCray, Bryan McCann Tough call on Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who has talent and didn't have much of a chance last year due to injury. Difficult to keep a fifth safety, though, because Church and McCray are so good on special teams and the Cowboys need that fifth corner (McCann) with Newman and Jenkins missing time.
Specialists (4) David Buehler, Dan Bailey, Mat McBriar, L.P. Ladouceur Don't have a great feel for the kicker position, and not sure the Cowboys do either, other than valuing Buehler's kickoff ability. Bailey's a cheaper option than Shayne Graham or Dave Rayner, at least until Buehler has a little more time to round into form after the hip injury. This could continue to be a fluid spot.