Another early look at the Cowboys' roster

June, 10, 2013
6/10/13
11:45
AM ET
IRVING, Texas – With one rookie minicamp down, 10 organize team activity practices over and the mandatory minicamp starting Tuesday, what better time is there to take an early look at the Cowboys’ 53-man roster?

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Tim MacMahon put together his first projection on May 1, so we bring you the second round here:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo
Kyle Orton

The Cowboys would like to keep a third quarterback, but there isn't one on the current roster worth keeping. They could look for a younger arm to keep after cuts with Orton’s cap number moving to $4.37 million next year.

[+] EnlargePhillip Tanner
AP Photo/James D SmithPhillip Tanner could still be the odd man out, but he's had a strong offseason.
RUNNING BACKS (4)

DeMarco Murray
Joseph Randle
Lance Dunbar
Phillip Tanner

I thought Tanner would be the odd man out, but he has had a strong offseason. The job is not a lock. I believe Kendial Lawrence could give him a run for his money in camp and in the preseason games. The Cowboys really like Dunbar as a third-down back and he could be a pleasant surprise after showing well last year as an undrafted free agent. Lawrence Vickers has to get healthy after back surgery, but the writing appears to be on the wall because of the next position you’ll read about.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Jason Witten
James Hanna
Gavin Escobar
Dante Rosario

The need for more of a blocking tight end remains, but with the heavy two-tight end sets that are expected, the Cowboys have to go with four tight ends. Rosario has experience and can play some special teams. Hanna has had a good offseason and will be part of packages during the year, even with Escobar being picked in the second round.

[+] EnlargeCole Beasley
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellCole Beasley can be effective in the slot, but the Cowboys could add another receiver.
WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Dez Bryant
Miles Austin
Terrance Williams
Dwayne Harris
Cole Beasley

Really thought about going with a sixth receiver, which would be Anthony Armstrong right now. Injuries over the summer could impact the position too. Beasley had a really good week last week but he has limitations. He can be effective in the slot, which is why he is ahead of Armstrong and Jared Green. A guy to keep an eye on is Eric Rogers. He’s caught everything but just doesn’t have great speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)

Tyron Smith
Nate Livings
Travis Frederick
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Doug Free
Jermey Parnell
Phil Costa
Ronald Leary
Kevin Kowalski
Darrion Weems

The first eight picks are pretty easy. The last two are a little more difficult. Kowalski got the edge over Ryan Cook only because of money. Kowalski is set to make $555,000; Cook $1.1 million. Both guys can play center and guard. Weems got the final spot for now, but I think the Cowboys will be scouting hard for players over the summer. They took Weems late last year as a project and he can still play his way into contention.

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DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

DeMarcus Ware
Jay Ratliff
Jason Hatcher
Anthony Spencer
Tyrone Crawford
Sean Lissemore
Anthony Hargrove
Kyle Wilber

I wondered whether I should go with nine linemen here, but kept it at eight. Hargrove is the most intriguing addition. He is believed to be a favorite of Rod Marinelli, so that will help his cause provided he can knock off the rust and get into better shape. Crawford and Wilber have had some good moments in the offseason.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Bruce Carter
Sean Lee
Justin Durant
Alex Albright
DeVonte Holloman
Brandon Magee
Ernie Sims

Sims gets a spot because of his experience and versatility. He can play weakside or middle linebacker. Albright can play strongside and middle and maybe some defensive line if necessary. Holloman and Magee have to be major special teamers. I also considered Tank Reed for one of the final spots, as well as Caleb McSurdy, who could be a short-yardage fullback as well.

[+] EnlargeB.W. Webb
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesB.W. Webb isn't quite ready yet to push Orlando Scandrick.
CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Orlando Scandrick
B.W. Webb
Sterling Moore

Moore gets the nod for the final cornerback spot, but it’s hardly a lock. Moore is helped that he can play some safety in a pinch. Brandon Underwood, Devon Smith and Xavier Brewer will be in the mix when things start to get real when the pads come on. The top four corners are set, and don’t expect Webb to push Scandrick out just yet.

SAFETIES (5)

Barry Church
Will Allen
Matt Johnson
J.J. Wilcox
Danny McCray

McCray has been the team’s best special teamer, but at $1.3 million that could be a little pricey in the Cowboys' eyes. Allen is guaranteed $620,000 this year, so he sticks but will have to hold off Johnson for a starting spot. With Allen nursing a hamstring strain, Johnson has worked with the first team and done a decent job. Wilcox has shown he will be around the ball but there is a lot for him to learn.

SPECIALISTS(3)

Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. Ladouceur

No surprises here. The best thing the Cowboys can do in camp is keep them fresh.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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