Bubble watch: Phillip Tanner

July, 18, 2013
With the Cowboys set to open practice on Sunday, ESPN Dallas takes a look at players fighting to make the 53-man roster and how they may potentially fit on the roster in 2013.

Morris Claiborne joins Richard Durrett and Landry Locker to discuss his improvement, the Cowboys' transition to the 4-3 defense and who is on the hot seat in Dallas.

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Name: Phillip Tanner

Position: Running back

Contract status: Signed through 2013, restricted free agent

Why he should make it: Behind DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys are inexperienced at running back and not especially big. Rookie Joseph Randle is 198 pounds. Lance Dunbar is a change-of-pace back at 191 pounds. At 217 pounds, Tanner has decent enough size to handle the between-the-tackle runs if necessary. He had a terrific offseason and really ran with more vision and authority than he did in all of 2012. He can also play all of the major special teams units, which is a must for all backup running backs.

Why he should not make it: While he is more experienced than Randle and Dunbar, it's not like he has a ton of experience or carries. He averaged only 2.4 yards a carry last year and caught four passes. If the Cowboys do not feel entirely comfortable with Randle -- who did not see any work in the offseason because of a thumb injury -- and Tanner as every-down backups to Murray, then they could look for a more veteran presence as training camp goes on.

Main competition: Kendial Lawrence.

Chance to make roster: 75%

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter



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