Cowboys' final roster projection

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
1:30
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have to cut the roster to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET Saturday, but in reality they could go much lower than that with needs at several positions.

Here’s the final roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Tony Romo
Kyle Orton

They are set here and could look to put Alex Tanney on the practice squad as a developmental guy.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
DeMarco Murray
Lance Dunbar
Phillip Tanner
Joseph Randle

Dunbar’s foot injury helped Tanner wrap up a spot, but I do wonder if he will stay on the roster for the whole season. He’s a special teams’ guy, too, so that helps his cause.

RECEIVERS (5)
Dez Bryant
Miles Austin
Terrance Williams
Dwayne Harris
Cole Beasley

I had Anthony Armstrong as the sixth guy all summer, but I just don’t know how they can take six receivers to the game, so it doesn’t make sense to keep six on the 53. Plus Armstrong’s money is guaranteed if he is on the roster for the year. I can see him coming back in Week 2.

TIGHT ENDS (4)
Jason Witten
James Hanna
Gavin Escobar
Andre Smith

Dante Rosario has a history with special teams’ coach Rich Bisaccia but he had a number of miscues on special teams in the preseason games. He’s similar to Hanna, so I would rather have Smith, a blocker, on the roster than another pass-catching type.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
Tyron Smith
Doug Free
Travis Frederick
Ronald Leary
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Phil Costa
Jermey Parnell
David Arkin
Unknown addition

Arkin is not a lock by any stretch. Nate Livings' $1.7 million is guaranteed whether he's on the team or not, and I think the Cowboys move on. But they'll be looking for help here in free agency or waiver-wire pickups.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Jason Hatcher
Nick Hayden
Ben Bass
Kyle Wilber
George Selvie
Landon Cohen
Jason Vega

Jay Ratliff is on PUP and does not count against the roster. Lissemore’s concussion clouds the issue but I think they will move on from him. This is a painfully thin group. Selvie, Cohen and Vega weren’t with the team since camp started. Wilber needs to pick up his play, too. They can ill afford any injury here. A waiver-wire pickup is possible.

LINEBACKERS (6)
Sean Lee
Bruce Carter
Justin Durant
Ernie Sims
DeVonte Holloman
Unknown player

Another thin group. Brandon Magee missed the last two preseason games with a concussion and is on the bubble. If they can’t grab a waiver-wire guy, then he lands the sixth spot, but only because they didn’t get what they wanted out of the entire group of backups.

CORNERBACKS (5)
Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Orlando Scandrick
Sterling Moore
B.W. Webb

Webb gave up two touchdowns vs. Houston and is just not ready. Moore is on shaky ground, too. The top three are set, but the Cowboys could look for help here as well.

SAFETIES (6)
Barry Church
Will Allen
J.J. Wilcox
Danny McCray
Jeff Heath
Eric Frampton

Frampton claims the special teams’ spot vacated by Rosario despite a calf injury that has kept him out since Aug. 10. With all of the breakdowns in the preseason, they need some veteran help and Frampton provides that. Time ran out on Matt Johnson, but I can see him being back on the practice squad.

SPECIALISTS (3)
Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. LaDouceur

No changes here.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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