The 53: Nate Newton Was Always On Guard

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/ Click here to view the Ultimate 53-man depth chart.

The most important part of each season may be the daily practice grind in July and August, when a team is truly built. As a countdown to this year's training camp, we celebrate the 53rd year of Cowboys football by constructing the team's all-time 53-man roster, picking one player from each season.

Not so much the 53 best players in club history, DallasCowboys.com has constructed the ultimate team, filling out the depth chart and making room for contributors at every position, including special teams, while at the same time looking ahead to how this year's 53-man roster might shake out.

The series continues today with 1987 and guard Nate Newton

Name:Nate Newton
Position: Guard
College: Florida A&M
Height/Weight: 6-3/ 325
Cowboys Tenure: 1986-98

Why Him? It's rather strange to enter "325" in the Height/Weight section for this piece, considering Newton is half of that size these days after losing more than 175 pounds. Thanks to the gastric bypass surgery he underwent about three years ago, the former All-Pro guard doesn't even resemble the player who dominated the middle and paved running lanes for Emmitt Smith for all those years. But in his day, Newton used his size advantage to simply overpower defensive linemen. Not long after Chicago's William "Refrigerator" Perry exploded onto the scene, Newton held the nickname "The Kitchen" for his mammoth size that often flirted with 400 pounds in the offseason. But Newton was never questioned about his talents. He came to the Cowboys as a tackle, but eventually wound up as one of the NFL's best guards on one of the most talented offensive lines in history. He made six career Pro Bowls, including five straight from 1992-96.

The Role: While he began his career at tackle, having played both tackle spots, Newton will be the starting guard on the right side for this team. Run blocking was his forte, but he had surprisingly quick feet for his size and held his own as a pass blocker. He was hard to move and harder to get around, making Newton one of the toughest guards in the league. His nastiness and mean streak made him even more of a handful for those defensive ends. He'll line up on the right side and likely will have some familiar teammates around him when this ultimate roster is fully revealed.

Back To The Future: Like most of these players, it's tough to find an accurate comparison on the current roster to the greatest players in franchise history. But if the Cowboys have someone they hope develops like Newton, it would be newly acquired free agent Mackenzy Bernadeau. While the former Panthers guard is currently injured after undergoing hip surgery, he is expected to take over at the right guard spot, assuming one of the younger players doesn't edge him out in his absence. Bernadeau spent four years of not playing much before joining the Cowboys, but Newton had a similar path, albeit in a different league. While he initially joined the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 1983, Newton bounced around, actually playing two seasons in the USFL before latching on with the Cowboys and becoming one of the best offensive linemen in club history.

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