- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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Constructing a 53-man roster is a difficult process, piecing together 10 positions groups and matching up present needs with future production of older and younger players. This week we take a look at constructing the Dallas Cowboys' roster.
Locks: Bailey, Jones, Ladouceur
Needs help: Mandell
How many fit? There was a time the Cowboys kept two kickers, one for field goals and the other for kickoffs. Bailey, however, does not need kickoff help. He is more than fine in that department. Three is the magic number for this group.
The Cowboys could look to bring a kicker into camp just so they don't overwork Bailey, who signed a seven-year extension this offseason.
Jones had a solid first full season as the Cowboys' punter. Mandell has a good leg, but he will have to clearly be better than Jones to win the job this summer. Jones has a strong leg but has done a better job on his directional kicking. Mandell showed he has a strong leg in the spring, but he was not consistent.
Do not overlook the fact Jones is a good holder too. That goes a long way to a kicker's confidence even if Bailey does not seem to be bothered by anything.
Ladouceur is a mainstay. It seemed in a few years ago the Cowboys were searching for Ladouceur's replacement, but nobody has been able to handle the duties. Plus, Ladouceur is just too good to go with an unknown snapper. Kreiter will get a chance to show what he can do in the preseason but it might be for another team or a return with the Cowboys in the future.
Constructing a 53-man roster is a difficult process, piecing together 10 positions groups and matching up present needs with future production of older and younger players.