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Dallas Cowboys' projected roster

8/17/2014

IRVING, Texas -- Examining the Dallas Cowboys' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Dustin Vaughan is making things interesting, but with so many needs at other spots, the No. 3 QB is just too much of a luxury. People were excited about Alex Tanney at this time last year, too. Right now, he's on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

I believe Ryan Williams and Randle serve the same roles, so it's hard to justify giving them both roster spots. Williams showed some explosion and burst late in Saturday's game. Perhaps he or Randle can drum up some trade interest when it's time for cuts. If you keep both tailbacks, then I can't see Clutts making it. With the desire to run more, Clutts makes more sense.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

These five have remained the same all camp and will continue to remain the same. It's too difficult for Jamar Newsome, LaRon Byrd or Chris Boyd to crack the 53 right now, and the needs on defense will trump the need for a sixth receiver.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

This group remains unchanged as well. Escobar hurt his shoulder against Baltimore, but the Cowboys don't believe it's too serious. Hanna had a drop but also caught a touchdown pass in his second straight game.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

I'm sticking with the same group, but Stephen Goodin could make his way into the mix over Nwaneri considering Nwaneri's base salary would be guaranteed for the season if he's on the roster in Week 1. I also kept Wetzel as the third tackle, but look for the Cowboys to have an eye on the waiver wire for that spot if Darrion Weems can't return soon. Like last week, I wonder if going with eight linemen for Week 1 might be appropriate.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

I took DeMarcus Lawrence off the roster because I'm going to place him on short-term injured reserve, which would cost him the first six games. That allows Boatright to get a spot. I chose Boatright over Martez Wilson. Where's Zach Minter? He was good against Baltimore, but I want to see more of him before he gets a spot. Remember, Josh Brent could be in this mix, too.

LINEBACKERS (7)

I'm sticking with the same seven, but Lawrence's spot is "fungible" as Jerry Jones likes to say. Maybe Will Smith gets in the mix. Maybe it allows for an 11th defensive lineman, like Minter, Wilson or a waiver pickup or trade. Holloman's neck injury could open up a spot if it's serious.

CORNERBACKS (5)

No Orlando Scandrick? Well, he's suspended the first four games, so he's out of the mix for Sept. 7 against San Francisco. Webb gets the edge because he can play the slot and the Cowboys really don't have another slot corner after Moore and Webb. The coaches continue to rave about Mitchell, but he gets beat too much for my liking. I think he's done enough to make the 53, but Tyler Patmon or Justin Green could work their way into the mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Dixon might have put himself back on the bubble by showing up late to the final walk-through in Oxnard, California, which landed him a spot on the bench for the Baltimore game. He gets the spot for now, but he is out of wiggle room. I don't see another safety making the roster, but that could open a spot for a corner if needed.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Same as it ever was.