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Monday, August 19, 2013
Vol. V: 53-man roster projection

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas -- Here's how the Cowboys' roster is shaping up as the start the home portion of their preseason preparations.

New additions are noted with an asterisk.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Tony Romo
Kyle Orton
Eve-of-camp signee Alex Tanney has put himself in position to earn a job on the practice squad if he clears waivers. The Cowboys still plan to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, and Tanney isn't competing with veteran Orton for the backup spot.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
DeMarco Murray
Lance Dunbar
Joseph Randle
Phillip Tanner
It's impossible to say that Tanner's spot is secure after he didn't get a carry in Arizona, but that was about evaluating the fifth-round pick, not anything Tanner has done wrong. Tanner is a solid special teams player and has the kind of attitude you want on a team.

RECEIVERS (5)
Dez Bryant
Miles Austin
Terrance Williams
Dwayne Harris
Cole Beasley
The last cut on the roster is Anthony Armstrong. Would you rather have him than a fourth running back? A 10th offensive lineman? A ninth defensive lineman?

TIGHT ENDS (4)
Jason Witten
Gavin Escobar
James Hanna
Dante Rosario
It was interesting to see Gavin Escobar work with the starters in Arizona. Hanna had been above the second-round rookie on the depth chart.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
Tyron Smith
Doug Free
Travis Frederick
Ronald Leary
*Veteran guard TBD
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Phil Costa
Jermey Parnell
Nate Livings
*Demetress Bell
There is more uncertainty here than any other position unit. Negotiations with Brian Waters are off -- for now -- but Jerry Jones made it crystal clear that acquiring a starting-caliber guard remains a priority. That could cost Livings his job, but last season's starting left guard would be a better backup than David Arkin and is guaranteed his $1.7 million salary this season. The logic behind Bell having a spot: The Cowboys wouldn't have invested so much time and energy getting him in something resembling football shape unless they wanted him on the roster.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Jason Hatcher
Jay Ratliff
Sean Lissemore
Ben Bass
Nick Hayden
Kyle Wilber
George Selvie
The fact that Spencer and Ratliff might not play a down in the preseason is a pretty significant concern. That, as well as Selvie's three sacks this preseason, justifies going heavy here.

LINEBACKERS (6)
Sean Lee
Bruce Carter
Justin Durant
Ernie Sims
DeVonte Holloman
Brandon Magee
Back surgery will send Alex Albright to injured reserve. They could still keep seven linebackers, but it's likely the last spot will come down to Caleb McSurdy or Magee.

CORNERBACKS (5)
Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Orlando Scandrick
Sterling Moore
B.W. Webb
The only question here seems to be the order on the depth chart of Moore and Webb. The fourth-round pick had a rough camp, but the Cowboys are intrigued by Webb's potential.

SAFETIES (5)
Barry Church
Will Allen
J.J. Wilcox
Matt Johnson
Danny McCray
Johnson's job certainly isn't secure due to his injury issues. But Eric Frampton, the primary candidate to take his spot, is sidelined by a strained calf. The Cowboys could also opt for a cheaper alternative to McCray, who is due to make $1.3 million essentially to be a special teams ace. Jeff Heath has played his way into consideration.

SPECIALISTS (3)
Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. Ladouceur
Only injury could cause changes to these spots.