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Monday, May 6, 2013
Cowboys roster projections

By Calvin Watkins

Last week, Tim MacMahon produced his ridiculously premature 53-man roster. I will give you my early analysis of the roster, including who is a lock to make the team and those who could be on the bubble.

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Glenn "Stretch" Smith, Randy Galloway and Matt Mosley discuss the latest on Doug Free's role with the Cowboys and the Cowboys' first-round draft pick Travis Frederick.

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QUARTERBACK

Locks to make the roster: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton.

On the bubble: The Cowboys are going with just two quarterbacks here. If the team had drafted one, it would make sense to have three on the 53-man roster. They will keep two quarterbacks on the 80-man roster until its time to make cuts in August.

RUNNING BACK

Locks: DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar.

On the bubble: I believe Lawrence Vickers makes the roster and the team doesn't seem to like Phillip Tanner, who needed to perform better when given the chance to become the lead running back when Murray suffered an injury last season. The Cowboys didn't address the running game from a blocking standpoint, which this is why I think Vickers stays around.

WIDE RECEIVER

Locks: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris.

On the bubble: This is a deep unit with plenty of speed and playmakers. Don't be surprised if Carlton Mitchell makes the roster, and there's no guarantee Williams is the No. 3 man on the depth chart. Harris showed the Cowboys some talent toward the end of last year and, next to Bryant, is the best returner on the team. Cole Beasley can make play if given the chance, but he's got competition from Mitchell, Jared Green, Tim Benford and Anthony Armstrong.

TIGHT END

Locks: Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna

On the bubble: This unit remains at three unless Vickers gets cut and then I can't see the team signing a blocking tight end.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Locks: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Phil Costa, Kevin Kowalski and Ronald Leary.

On the bubble: David Arkin is the dark horse candidate to make it at guard, and if Free isn't around, then Eric Winston, if he's still available, is the starting right tackle. Ryan Cook's efforts in training camp could determine his status, especially if Costa gets hurt again or struggles. Darrion Weems is someone to look at too, but I think the Cowboys keep 10 linemen.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Locks: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore, Tyrone Crawford, Kyle Wilber and Rob Callaway.

On the bubble: Ben Bass did a nice job in training camp last season and will be given a chance to earn some checks come September. Brian Price is a player who could make one of the final roster spots because he has some upside.

LINEBACKER

Locks: Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Alex Albright and Brandon Magee.

On the bubble: Let's hold off on the Ernie Sims return. He was serviceable last season, but Caleb McSurdy could emerge as someone you rely on, especially on special teams. DeVonte Holloman can make this team on special teams; if not, I see him on the practice squad. Magee can play both strong and weakside linebacker.

CORNERBACK

Locks: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick and B.W. Webb.

On the bubble: Sterling Moore and Brandon Underwood could make the roster. The Cowboys endured health problems at this position last season with Claiborne and Scandrick and they could keep five or six corners.

SAFETY

Locks: Barry Church, Matt Johnson and J.J. Wilcox.

On the bubble: The Cowboys could go low at this spot, given Carr's ability to play safety in a pinch and the possibility one or two linebackers make the team because of their special teams ability, which knocks Danny McCray off the roster. I'd like to see if veteran Will Allen could add to the position.

SPECIALISTS

Locks: Dan Bailey, Chris Jones and L.P. Ladouceur.

On the bubble: Nobody really. Ladouceur just signed a new deal and Jones should be ready to go for the veteran minicamps after having knee surgery late last season.