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Power Rankings: Sizing Up Three Offensive Skill Positions


OXNARD, Calif. – One of the most common questions we hear at training camp usually starts with the sentence "what are you seeing out of …."

And then you just fill in the blank. So after one week of training camp here in sunny California, the Cowboys have yet to do an official depth chart. So the writers of will unveil its position rankings each day.

And this isn't an exact list of the top performers out here in camp, but how they stack up on a would-be depth chart – at least in the eyes of the staff writers.

Today, we combined three positions on offense although we kept their individual rankings on the depth chart.

Tight End

1.       Jason Witten
2.       Gavin Escobar
3.       James Hanna
4.       Jordan Najvar
5.       Dallas Walker

Running Back

1.       DeMarco Murray
2.       Lance Dunbar
3.       Joseph Randle
4.       Ryan Williams
5.       Tyler Clutts
6.       J.C. Copeland
7.       Ben Malena


1.       Tony Romo
2.       Brandon Weeden
3.       Caleb Hanie
4.       Dustin Vaughan

Nick Eatman: This was rather easy at all three positions, which is probably why we put them all together. I don't think Randle is going to lose his spot to Ryan Williams, who I actually put behind the fullback Clutts. At quarterback Vaughan is fourth on my list but I do think he'll have a better chance to be here this season on the practice squad. The Cowboys won't keep three quarterbacks and Hanie doesn't have eligibility for the squad.

Rowan Kavner:The quarterbacks and tight ends were [embedded_ad] about as easy to put together as any positions here. I'd still be surprised if the Cowboys kept three quarterbacks or four tight ends. I think it's likely they go two and three, respectively. It got more interesting with the backs, combining fullbacks with running backs. The first two were simple. That third running back spot is still up for grabs and could easily be either Randle or Malena. Copeland showed up Sunday when the pads got on, and that's what he'll have to do during the preseason games if he's to supplant Clutts at fullback. There's not as much he can do when he doesn't get the chance to bowl people over.

Bryan Broaddus: I am starting to believe that this front office will just carry two quarterbacks so there is an importance to Brandon Weeden and what he can bring. The numbers at running back will be interesting whether that's three or four? Randle was very productive in scrimmage with preseason games to most likely tell the tale between he and Ryan Williams. The use by Scott Linehan of these tight ends is also very telling. Have noticed more Witten and Escobar in offensive packages with a slight hint of Hanna. Where Hanna has value to this squad is on special teams and would be very curious if a blocking tight end were to become available would the front office sacrifice him for that player? Like Hanna, Tyler Clutts has an advantage over JC Copeland on special teams but Copeland showed he can be a force digging those linebackers out in the running game.

David Helman: I was all aboard the Ryan Williams hype train heading into camp, and he's still going to get opportunities to prove himself, but I don't think there's any doubt Randle has been better between them. Both guys are behind Murray and Dunbar, but Randle has had more opportunity to show off his stuff to this point. Maybe that will change in San Diego. I also feel a lot less optimistic about J.C. Copeland's chance to make the team, as Tyler Clutts has him beat on experience and versatility – Clutts is much more present on special teams. The pecking orders on quarterback and tight end are very clear-cut and non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned. I'm curious to see how many tight ends the Cowboys plan on keeping, and if they need a better blocking tight end.

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