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Monday, August 25, 2014
Dallas Cowboys' projected roster

By Todd Archer

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

QUARTERBACKS (2)
I've had two quarterbacks on the roster from the beginning and this won't change. Dustin Vaughan will make the practice squad if/when he clears waivers. There's just too many needs elsewhere on the roster to carry a No. 3 quarterback, but Vaughan has some potential to see if he can develop.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

I know most of you are asking, 'Where is Ryan Williams?' There is no doubt he is among the top 53 players on the current roster, but that doesn't mean he earn a spot on the 53-man roster. A backup running back has to do more than just run it well. He has to play special teams and pass protect well. I've kept Clutts on the roster because I believe Jason Garrett will want the fullback on the roster, and the front office will listen to him.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

This five has remained the same all summer and won't change. The expanded practice squads might help Jamar Newsome stick around. LaRon Byrd also has practice squad eligibility.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

This group hasn't changed either. I do wonder if they would look at more of a blocker after the final cuts, but Hanna has improved and will continue to have a role. He was on the roster bubble, in my view, at the start of camp, but I think he's earned a spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

I'm only going with eight linemen, which is kind of risky, but they will dress only seven on gameday and can stack the practice squad to help out. Nwaneri could help his cause if he could play some center, and he's taken some snaps in pre-practice there. Look for them to scout the market for tackle help too. Parnell has only been OK.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

Wilson re-appears on the list, but I've got to be honest I don't know if he makes it. It's just that this group needs all the help it can get. Where's DeMarcus Lawrence? I'm going to put him on injured reserve with a designation to return. Kenneth Boatright has not been as productive, but can still sneak in if Selvie's shoulder injury limits him early, especially with Spencer unlikely to be ready Week 1. Again, they'll look for help here once the cuts are final, or they could look to trade a player they would cut to another team.

LINEBACKERS (7)

The career of DeVonte Holloman will come to a close because of a neck injury, so he's been replaced by Smith. The seventh-round pick has some pop to him and can run well enough to earn some special teams time. I thought the starting linebackers would be set by now, but it's not. Do they go with McClain, Durant or Hitchens in the middle? Is Carter now a strong-side linebacker? Is Wilber more of a defensive end now?

CORNERBACKS (6)

Six corners might be a little heavy, but Patmon has done enough to make the team at a position of need with Orlando Scandrick out the first four games. Moore will work the slot, but the Cowboys need to cover themselves there, and Webb makes it due to experience. Patmon is still learning inside. I've had Mitchell on the roster the whole time, but he's peaked a little bit and could be in trouble.

SAFETIES (5)

It's the same five, but Heath (elbow) and Hamilton (hamstring) have injuries. Dixon is a thumper and not afraid. He can be a good special teamer, but he needs play smarter defensively. Could Ryan Smith work his way into this mix?

SPECIALISTS (3)

Same as it ever was.