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Post minicamp look at 53-man roster

6/17/2013

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are in the “off” part of the offseason now that the mandatory minicamp is over.

As a result, we offer up another look at the 53-man roster before the team heads to Oxnard, Calif., next month for training camp.

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo

Kyle Orton

There’s no change here, but I can see the Cowboys adding a quarterback for training camp with a better resume than Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

DeMarco Murray

Joseph Randle

Lance Dunbar

Phillip Tanner

No change here either. I will be interested to see how Randle works into the mix. If the Cowboys go with a true third-down back, then I think Dunbar gets that role and Randle will work mostly as Murray’s true backup.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Jason Witten

James Hanna

Gavin Escobar

Dante Rosario

No change here either, although Colin Cochart bears some watching in the battle with Rosario. He did some good things in the offseason and can play some special teams, too. I reiterate my point on the need for a more blocking-oriented tight end behind Witten.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Dez Bryant

Miles Austin

Terrance Williams

Dwayne Harris

Cole Beasley

I debated going with a sixth wide receiver again, but I just don’t see the need with how I expect the offense to be structured this year. That’s not good news for Anthony Armstrong, Danny Coale and whoever else gets in the mix here.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Tyron Smith

Nate Livings

Travis Frederick

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Doug Free

Jermey Parnell

Phil Costa

Ronald Leary

Darrion Weems

Finally a change on offense. I knocked Kevin Kowalski from the list and did so with hesitation, but he brings a lot of duplication with Costa. And Bernadeau can play center in a pinch. The Cowboys usually go heavy on the offensive line, so I would expect this to go back to 10 during training camp. You’ll see later as to why I dropped down to nine guys.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

DeMarcus Ware

Jay Ratliff

Jason Hatcher

Anthony Spencer

Tyrone Crawford

Sean Lissemore

Kyle Wilber

Ben Bass

Nick Hayden

I took Anthony Hargrove off the list and added Ben Bass, who had an excellent minicamp, and Hayden, who has done a nice job on the interior. It’s a little heavy, but Rod Marinelli will have a lot of say on the roster. Bass has the ability to be that “quick-twitch” guy on the interior, but I still think he will have to fight for a job. Hayden’s experience helps him.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Bruce Carter

Sean Lee

Justin Durant

Alex Albright

DeVonte Holloman

Brandon Magee

Ernie Sims loses the final spot here, but carrying six linebackers isn’t the smartest of moves. Think of it this way: With the way teams use their nickel defense, the Cowboys will have three linebackers on the field for 45 percent of the snaps, so do they need to have a seventh linebacker who will likely be inactive on game day? I think they can cover themselves from injury by carrying two or three linebackers on the practice squad.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr

Morris Claiborne

Orlando Scandrick

B.W. Webb

Sterling Moore

No change here and if there aren’t any surprise additions, I don’t think this will change during camp, although Brandon Underwood made some plays the final couple of days of minicamp.

SAFETIES (6)

Barry Church

Will Allen

Matt Johnson

J.J. Wilcox

Danny McCray

Jakar Hamilton

McCray is on the bubble for me only because of his price tag. Could they go with four safeties? Seems risky. By going light at linebacker, they’ll need some special teams’ bodies. Hamilton’s chances weren’t helped by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of the OTAs and minicamp, but he got the benefit of the doubt.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey

Chris Jones

L.P. Ladouceur

No change here.