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Top 10: Ranks The Team's Most Intriguing Roster Battles

This week's Top 10 focuses on some of the best position battles the Cowboys are expecting to have throughout the offseason and come training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

10. Backup QB– Dak Prescott is one of the unquestioned leaders of this team in only his second season, so there's not much drama about the starting spot. But how do the Cowboys feel about his backup? Kellen Moore is the presumed favorite to fill that role after missing 2016 with a broken fibula, but the Cowboys signed two undrafted free agents in Cooper Rush and Austin Appleby. They've also hinted at their willingness to explore veteran options. Training camp and the preseason will likely determine whether Moore holds on to the job, or whether the Cowboys go another direction.

9. Backup TE –Again, there's not a whole lot of drama when it comes to the starting spot. Jason Witten remains a remarkably steady constant in the starting lineup – as he has for more than a decade. There are plenty of questions behind him, though. The Cowboys like Geoff Swaim and James Hanna, but both players have dealt with injury issues. Hanna has missed the last year with a knee injury, while Swaim tore his pec last season and broke his foot during offseason conditioning. Both are expected to be ready for training camp, and hopefully they'll have no further hiccups as they compete for snaps in this offense. Then, of course, there is Rico Gathers, who has reportedly made plenty of progress after spending his rookie year on the practice squad. It will be interesting to see exactly how the pecking order behind Witten shakes out.

8. Return Specialist – The Cowboys could have a new punt returner in Ryan Switzer, who was drafted for his ability to play on offense and return the ball. He had seven TDs in college returning punts and that's an area the Cowboys could see major improvement with. Lucky Whitehead won't give it up without a fight, however.

7. Middle Linebacker – If, and it's a big if apparently, Jaylon Smith can get fully healthy, then he will be the middle linebacker. But the Cowboys need a fallback plan and that should include Anthony Hitchens and perhaps Damien Wilson into the mix. The Cowboys have their fingers crossed about Smith but Hitchens is more than capable to start if needed.

6. Defensive Tackle – The battle here will be for playing time. A four-man rotation seems likely to include Maliek Collins, Stephen Paea, Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton. But the latest situation with David Irving could affect Crawford's role and move him back to end. The Cowboys need Thornton to step up his game and if Collins continue to shine, he could be a star in the making.

This week's Top 10 focuses on some of the best position battles the Cowboys are expecting to have throughout the offseason and come training camp in Oxnard, Calif. 

5. Backup WR – With the starters pretty much set, there will be heavy competition for the final two or three spots. Brice Butler had a big role in the offense last year but will be pushed this year by some younger players. Watch out for Andy Jones, who spent last year on the practice, along with rookie Noah Brown. Ryan Switzer will compete with Lucky Whitehead at receiver along with the return game.

4. Safety – With Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox leaving, the door is open for a spot next to Byron Jones. For now, Jeff Heath is the player to beat. But the Cowboys love his ability to perform on special teams so if a younger player such as Kavon Frazier or Xavier Woods could step up, there could be some healthy competition at camp.

3. Left Guard/Right Tackle – The Cowboys have 40 percent of their offensive line undetermined at this point. With that, there could be some strong battles at camp and figure La'el Collins to be included in both. Collins will factor into some spot on the line, creating a competition at the other position. If the Cowboys keep him at guard, look for Chaz Green and Byron Bell to battle at right tackle. Collins could work at right tackle and put Bell and Jonathan Cooper in a race to win the left guard spot.

2. Cornerback – Lots of questions here because of the unknown. Now with Nolan Carroll's latest arrest, it could cause even more uncertainty with the depth. Jourdan Phillips also has a pending legal issue, but the Cowboys are hopeful both will be in the mix to compete. Orlando Scandrick, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown could also provide some healthy competition. Don't forget about rookie Marquez White, who has the length to get his hands on the ball in coverage.

1. Defensive End – The Cowboys have plenty of players in the rotation, but what's the order? That's the question that has to be answered and we seem to be a long way from figuring that out. Irving's pending suspension throws a loop into the situation but nothing the Cowboys haven't experienced before. Taco Charlton will get plenty of chances to earn playing time and let's see how Charles Tapper works into the mix. Benson Mayowa and DeMarcus Lawrence are expected to start but everything is up for grabs at this point. The depth is good but the order is all over the map. 

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