- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.
Name: Nick Hayden
Position: Defensive tackle
Contract status: Signed through 2014
Why he should make it: Signed almost as an afterthought after last season ended, Hayden had a productive offseason and took advantage of the snaps he received when Jason Hatcher was given a day off and Rob Callaway suffered a season-ending injury. At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, he has good size to handle the interior spots. He is more of a traditional run-stopping defensive tackle than a penetrator, which the Cowboys don’t have a lot of on the roster right now. Even though he did not play last year, his experience will be a bonus on a line learning a new system.
Why he should not make it: How many snaps will he get on game day and will he be able to get after the quarterback? The key to this scheme is the front four attacking the quarterback, and Hayden might not have that “quick twitch” that was talked about with other prospects in the offseason. The Cowboys might have other needs at different roster spots that could knock him out of one of the final slots. Keeping nine defensive linemen might be too much of a luxury.
Chance to make roster: 55%