Vol. 2: Premature 53-man roster projection

August, 7, 2012
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The second weekly edition of the always-subject-to-change projection of the Cowboys’ 53-man roster for the season opener:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Tony Romo
Kyle Orton
Stephen McGee hasn’t developed enough to merit keeping a third quarterback, especially since Rudy Carpenter is eligible for the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (3)
DeMarco Murray
Felix Jones
Phillip Tanner
The hope is that Tanner won’t miss much more than a week after breaking his hand. He can be a core special teams player, something undrafted rookies Ed Wesley and Lance Dunbar aren’t physical enough for at this point.

FULLBACKS (1)
Lawrence Vickers
Jason Garrett talks a lot about the importance of being a physical team. The signing of Vickers is proof that it’s more than just talk.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
Miles Austin
Dez Bryant
Kevin Ogletree
Veteran TBD
Andre Holmes
Danny Coale
No position on the roster has more uncertainty. There isn’t a legitimate No. 3 guy on the roster, but a veteran waiver pickup won’t be ready for that role right away. Tim Benford, Raymond Radway and Cole Beasley all have a chance to make the team.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
Jason Witten
John Phillips
James Hanna
Hanna, who has great speed for a tight end, is getting a ton of reps with Phillips nursing an ankle injury. Can he block well enough to compete for the second tight end role?

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN (10)
Tyron Smith
Doug Free
Nate Livings
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Phil Costa
Jermey Parnell
Derrick Dockery
Ronald Leary
Pat McQuistan
David Arkin
If Costa has any competition, it will be from Bernadeau. But Bernadeau still hasn’t practiced, and the plan was for him to start at guard.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7)
Jay Ratliff
Jason Hatcher
Sean Lissemore
Kenyon Coleman
Tyrone Crawford
Josh Brent
Clifton Geathers
Lissemore and Crawford make Marcus Spears -- and maybe Coleman -- expendable. Geathers (6-7, 325) looks like a monster and has actually started making some plays.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Victor Butler
Kyle Wilber
Alex Albright
Albright is a Joe DeCamillis favorite who has added to his value by working a lot at inside linebacker and even a little at tight end. That makes it worth going heavy here.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Sean Lee
Bruce Carter
Dan Connor
Orie Lemon
Carter and Connor should be upgrades over past-their-prime Keith Brooking and Bradie James. One team source said he’d be stunned if Lemon, a practice squad player last season, didn’t survive final cuts.

CORNERBACKS (5)
Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Mike Jenkins
Orlando Scandrick
Mario Butler
Butler hasn’t looked out of place while playing with the first-team nickel in the few days since Claiborne went down. He’s also added to his value by working some at safety.

SAFETIES (4)
Gerald Sensabaugh
Barry Church
Danny McCray
Matt Johnson
Church’s competition with Brodney Pool was a first-round knockout. Mana Silva, who can help on special teams, could make the Cowboys consider going heavy here.

SPECIALISTS (3)
Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. Ladouceur
Only question here is whether the Cowboys can count on Jones. If not, they’ll be able to find a veteran after the preseason.

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