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Ridiculously premature 53-man roster projection

6/19/2012
Stephen McGee will have competition from Rudy Carpenter, but it's not out of the question that neither makes the club. Tim Heitman/US Presswire

This will be a weekly staple during training camp and the preseason. June is way too early to do this, but a little wild speculation never hurt anybody, so here goes ...

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Tony Romo

Kyle Orton

Stephen McGee

Rudy Carpenter will compete with McGee for the third quarterback job. If neither impresses during the preseason, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Cowboys keep only two QBs.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

DeMarco Murray

Felix Jones

Phillip Tanner

Undrafted free agents Lance Dunbar and Darrell Scott will fight for a job, but Tanner is a good fit as a third back. He’s a willing, eager and able special teams player and a well-rounded running back.

FULLBACKS (1)

Lawrence Vickers

Jerry Jones has already declared Vickers the Cowboys’ best fullback since Daryl “Moose” Johnston. Jones said the same thing about Tony Fiammetta last season, but the Cowboys believe that Vickers is an upgrade.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jason Witten

John Phillips

James Hanna

The Cowboys might miss Martellus Bennett’s blocking. The speedy Hanna has potential as a weapon in the passing game, but he’ll have to prove he can actually catch the ball consistently.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Miles Austin

Dez Bryant

Kevin Ogletree

Andre Holmes

Danny Coale

If Ogletree doesn’t claim the third receiver role, the Cowboys need to move on from him. He doesn’t help on special teams. Keep an eye on SMU’s Cole Beasley, a Danny Amendola-type of slot receiver.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

Tyron Smith

Doug Free

Nate Livings

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Bill Nagy

Phil Costa

David Arkin

Jermey Parnell

Pat McQuistan

Ronald Leary

Who starts at center? It could be Costa, Nagy or Kevin Kowalski, and odds are one of them won’t make the team.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Jay Ratliff

Jason Hatcher

Sean Lissemore

Marcus Spears

Tyrone Crawford

Josh Brent

Kenyon Coleman needs to have a heck of a training camp and preseason to justify paying his $1.9 million salary. Coleman is expendable if Lissemore claims the starting job.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

Sean Lee

Dan Connor

Bruce Carter

Caleb McSurdy

It will be interesting to see how many reps Alex Albright, who missed offseason workouts after undergoing shoulder surgery, gets at inside linebacker during camp. Orie Lemon is also in the mix here.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)

DeMarcus Ware

Anthony Spencer

Victor Butler

Kyle Wilber

Adrian Hamilton

You can never have enough pass-rushers, and Hamilton has a knack for getting to the quarterback. The undrafted free agent had 22 sacks for Prairie View A&M last season, breaking the SWAC record held by Colts defensive end Robert Mathis.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr

Morris Claiborne

Mike Jenkins

Orlando Scandrick

Mario Butler

At some point, Jenkins needs to stop pouting and start playing. The Cowboys have no plans to grant his request for a trade. Cornerback depth has been a major problem in recent years, and the Cowboys aren’t going to sacrifice it by making a deal for a low-round draft pick.

SAFETIES (5)

Gerald Sensabaugh

Brodney Pool

Barry Church

Matt Johnson

Danny McCray

If Pool gets beat out, he might never play a game for the Cowboys. It’d be tough to swallow paying a seven-figure salary to a backup safety.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey

Chris Jones

L.P. Ladouceur

The Cowboys seem satisfied with Jones at punter, but they’re keeping tabs on Mat McBriar’s recovery from surgery related to the drop foot that ended his 2011 season prematurely.