Position Battles: Are The Safeties, Safe?

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Editor's Note: The last stretch of the offseason is upon us. The next time the Cowboys get together, it will be time for training camp. The roster is nearly full and that should mean a healthy dose of completion – at all positions. In the coming weeks, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will focus on each position to find the most intriguing battles as we get ready for training camp. Today, we continue the series with safety.

Battle To Watch:​ 

This feels weird to write, but it doesn't look like there is much of a battle for the Cowboys' current safety spots. The front office famously did not address the position in the draft, stating that there weren't any players who fit what they were looking for at a value that made sense. The Cowboys have also declined to pursue a veteran safety, again noting that they don't think there is one who fits the role they're looking for – a ball hawking free safety.

Instead, the battle to watch will be the incumbent starters against the Cowboys' expectations. Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods worked as the first-team safeties throughout the spring, and Cowboys officials have expressed their confidence in the duo many times over. It'd be unfair not to mention the other safeties, such as Kavon Frazier and Marqueston Huff, as candidates to win a starting spot – but it's clear that the Cowboys are hoping Woods and Heath can definitively stake their claim to the jobs.

Don't Forget About:​ 

There are only a handful of safeties on this roster, so it'd be hard to forget about one.

The real variable with this position comes from the outside. That is to say, if Heath and/or Woods don't perform to a satisfactory level at training camp, will the Cowboys look elsewhere to create competition?

Asked about that fact, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has mentioned Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones on multiple occasions. The Cowboys would undoubtedly prefer that those two remain at cornerback, but Jones spent two years at safety and Awuzie played the position in college. If necessary, one of them could shift.

Then there's always the rumor mill. Speculation will swirl about Seahawks safety Earl Thomas all the way through training camp, but a trade for the veteran seems unlikely. What might be more plausible is that the front office takes a look at some of the available veteran free agents if they don't like what they see during camp.

Bubble Watch:

One guy who could stand the benefit the most from the lack of depth at safety is Jameill Showers. The veteran is entering his second full season at safety, having moved there after Dak Prescott claimed the starting quarterback job in 2016. He has been a mainstay on the practice squad throughout his career, thanks to his versatility. If he's ever going to make the jump to the 53-man roster, this could be the year. 

Here's what the rest of the safety depth chart looks like going into training camp:

Locks:

Jeff Heath - Xavier Woods - Kavon Frazier

Contender: 

Marqueston Huff

Long Shots:

Jameill Showers - Tyree Robinson - Kam Kelly

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