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Monday, August 4, 2014
Dallas Cowboys' projected roster

By Todd Archer

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

QUARTERBACKS (2)

If the Cowboys are going to keep a third quarterback, he's not on the current roster with the way Caleb Hanie has performed. Dustin Vaughan could be a practice squad candidate depending on how he performs in his preseason work. Romo has been limited in camp but everybody continues to say he is 100 percent. When he has practiced, he's looked like the same quarterback: quick decisions, good accuracy. Weeden will get his fair share of preseason work as well.

RUNNING BACKS (4)


No changes in the running back group, but the No. 3 battle between Randle and Ryan Williams will come down to the preseason. Could the Cowboys go with four tailbacks and no fullbacks? Could they go with six wide receivers? If so, that could put Clutts' job in jeopardy.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)


These five remain unchanged, but LaRon Byrd has put himself into the mix and his seeing time with the regulars in sub packages. He can make contested catches but is not the fastest. What can he contribute on special teams? If it's little, then the Cowboys won't keep him. Williams has had a consistent camp and there should be no worries about him at the No. 2 spot.

TIGHT ENDS (3)


No changes with this group. Witten is still the lead dog and having a good camp. There was a thought Escobar would be a clear No. 2 choice but that hasn't really emerged yet. Hanna is doing some good work on the line, which is an area in which Escobar struggles.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Weems suffered a dislocated shoulder that will keep him out of at least one preseason game. The fourth tackle right now would be John Wetzel, who spent some time on the practice squad. Parnell has improved in the last week of camp. Leary is now back to practice after being kept out with a hamstring injury, but Bernadeau continues to work with the first team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

Nick Hayden makes his first appearance on the 53-man projection and he probably should have been here sooner. The loss of Lawrence (foot) for at least three to six regular-season games is a blow and leaves the Cowboys a little light at end. Anthony Spencer is progressing nicely in his comeback from microfracture surgery but Week 1 might be pushing it, so he remains on the physically unable to perform list and not on the 53-man roster. Gardner will have to start practicing soon or he could be pushed out.

LINEBACKER (6)

I carried seven linebackers on the first two projections but Smith is falling behind because of an injury. There is not a linebacker to put in his place just yet, so that's why there will be six corners on the 53. It will be interesting to see how McClain works in during the preseason. He has slowly gotten some work with the first team in the last week.

CORNERBACK (6)


I decided to add another corner in part because there is not another linebacker on the roster and in part because I didn't want to add another defensive lineman. Patmon gets into the mix over B.W. Webb but his spot is far from secure. Webb has shown up a little more lately but he has bouts of poor play, too.

SAFETY (5)

Same guys here but Dixon has to make an impression in the preseason games. It's been a slow start to practice for him. Matt Johnson suffered another hamstring injury, which would seem to doom his chances. Wilcox remains the starter and has not really been pushed early in camp.

SPECIALISTS (3)


No change here. Not sure there will be a change all camp.