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Monday, June 17, 2013
Post minicamp look at 53-man roster

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are in the “off” part of the offseason now that the mandatory minicamp is over.

As a result, we offer up another look at the 53-man roster before the team heads to Oxnard, Calif., next month for training camp.

PODCAST
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss this week's minicamp and Dez Bryant. Claiborne will join the show to discuss the latest Cowboys news all season.

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QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo
Kyle Orton

There’s no change here, but I can see the Cowboys adding a quarterback for training camp with a better resume than Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

DeMarco Murray
Joseph Randle
Lance Dunbar
Phillip Tanner

Joseph Randle
Rookie Joseph Randle could serve as a true backup to DeMarco Murray with Lance Dunbar as the third-down back.
No change here either. I will be interested to see how Randle works into the mix. If the Cowboys go with a true third-down back, then I think Dunbar gets that role and Randle will work mostly as Murray’s true backup.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Jason Witten
James Hanna
Gavin Escobar
Dante Rosario

No change here either, although Colin Cochart bears some watching in the battle with Rosario. He did some good things in the offseason and can play some special teams, too. I reiterate my point on the need for a more blocking-oriented tight end behind Witten.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Dez Bryant
Miles Austin
Terrance Williams
Dwayne Harris
Cole Beasley

I debated going with a sixth wide receiver again, but I just don’t see the need with how I expect the offense to be structured this year. That’s not good news for Anthony Armstrong, Danny Coale and whoever else gets in the mix here.

Kevin Kowalski
Kevin Kowalski could be the odd man out on the offensive line.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Tyron Smith
Nate Livings
Travis Frederick
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Doug Free
Jermey Parnell
Phil Costa
Ronald Leary
Darrion Weems

Finally a change on offense. I knocked Kevin Kowalski from the list and did so with hesitation, but he brings a lot of duplication with Costa. And Bernadeau can play center in a pinch. The Cowboys usually go heavy on the offensive line, so I would expect this to go back to 10 during training camp. You’ll see later as to why I dropped down to nine guys.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

DeMarcus Ware
Jay Ratliff
Jason Hatcher
Anthony Spencer
Tyrone Crawford
Sean Lissemore
Kyle Wilber
Ben Bass
Nick Hayden

I took Anthony Hargrove off the list and added Ben Bass, who had an excellent minicamp, and Hayden, who has done a nice job on the interior. It’s a little heavy, but Rod Marinelli will have a lot of say on the roster. Bass has the ability to be that “quick-twitch” guy on the interior, but I still think he will have to fight for a job. Hayden’s experience helps him.

Ernie Sims
The Cowboys called on Ernie Sims after losing Sean Lee last season, but his spot is up in the air this year.
LINEBACKERS (6)

Bruce Carter
Sean Lee
Justin Durant
Alex Albright
DeVonte Holloman
Brandon Magee

Ernie Sims loses the final spot here, but carrying six linebackers isn’t the smartest of moves. Think of it this way: With the way teams use their nickel defense, the Cowboys will have three linebackers on the field for 45 percent of the snaps, so do they need to have a seventh linebacker who will likely be inactive on game day? I think they can cover themselves from injury by carrying two or three linebackers on the practice squad.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Orlando Scandrick
B.W. Webb
Sterling Moore

No change here and if there aren’t any surprise additions, I don’t think this will change during camp, although Brandon Underwood made some plays the final couple of days of minicamp.

SAFETIES (6)

Barry Church
Will Allen
Matt Johnson
J.J. Wilcox
Danny McCray
Jakar Hamilton

McCray is on the bubble for me only because of his price tag. Could they go with four safeties? Seems risky. By going light at linebacker, they’ll need some special teams’ bodies. Hamilton’s chances weren’t helped by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of the OTAs and minicamp, but he got the benefit of the doubt.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. Ladouceur

No change here.