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Pre-camp 53-man roster projection

8/9/2010

We'll revise this list on a weekly basis throughout training camp and the preseason. Here are the 52 players who received invitations to training camp that we think will make the final cut ... and one player we expect the Cowboys to add just before the regular season.

QUARTERBACKS (3): Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee

McGee will get plenty of preseason playing time to prove that he has potential as a developmental project. If he doesn’t succeed, he’ll have competition for that role next year.

RUNNING BACKS (3): Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Tashard Choice

The only question with this group is how the playing time and carries will be split. Jones deserves to be the lead horse. Does Barber deserve a bigger role than Choice?

FULLBACKS (1): Deon Anderson

He contributes enough on special teams to make up for the fact he doesn’t play many snaps on offense.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips

There’s no excuse for Bennett to fail to emerge as a weapon in his third season. If he doesn’t tap into his potential this season, he probably never will.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Sam Hurd

I predict that Patrick Crayton’s fears of being cut after training camp come true. That means the top three receivers stay healthy and Ogletree proves to the coaches that they can count on him.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Marc Colombo, Doug Free, Alex Barron, Robert Brewster, Montrae Holland, Travis Bright

Sixth-round pick Sam Young could scrap his way onto the roster. If that happens at Brewster’s expense, the 2009 third-rounder will go down with James Marten and Jacob Rogers as recent OT draft busts.

NOSE TACKLES (2): Jay Ratliff, Josh Price-Brent

Wade Phillips praised Junior Siavii during the offseason, but the Cowboys wouldn’t have selected Price-Brent with a supplemental seventh-round pick if they were really pleased with Ratliff’s backup.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (4): Igor Olshansky, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher

With three ends playing on one-year tender offers, the Cowboys might go heavy here and keep high-motor seventh-rounder Sean Lissemore. If he’s cut, they’ll try to sign him to the practice squad.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Brandon Williams, Victor Butler

Is there a better OLB tandem in the NFL? If one of the 2009 fourth-rounders proves reliable as a pass-rusher, the Cowboys will have the best group at this position in the league.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5): Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Sean Lee, Jason Williams, Stephen Hodge

I reserve the right to change my mind if Hodge, who is coming back from microfracture knee surgery, isn’t ready at the beginning of training camp. But he’s a potential Bill Bates-type of special-teams stud.

CORNERBACKS (5): Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Orlando Scandrick, Bryan McCann, Jamar Wall

The Cowboys could go light at cornerback due to the versatility of a couple of safeties, but I’m guessing they’ll give a couple of rookies who can contribute on special-teams roster spots.

SAFETIES (5): Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball, Michael Hamlin, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Barry Church

Church, an undrafted rookie, has a chance to be a cheaper version of Pat Watkins, who has hung around for four years because of his special-teams prowess. Church, who blocked three kicks as a senior, is a solid tackler who excelled on kick coverage teams in addition to being a four-time All-MAC safety at Toledo.

SPECIALISTS (4): Mat McBriar, David Buehler, L.P. Ladouceur, John Carney

The 46-year-old Carney, who made 35 of 38 field goal attempts two seasons ago, is a phone call away if the Cowboys’ confidence in Buehler takes a blow during training camp and the preseason.