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Post-minicamp 53-man roster projection

Here are educated guesses on the 53 players who will be on the roster after the dust settles in early September, including one who isn't currently Cowboys' property:

QUARTERBACKS (3): Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee.

The Cowboys have confidence in Romo and Kitna and curiosity about McGee.

RUNNING BACKS (3): Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Tashard Choice.

Jerry Jones and the coaching staff bent over backwards to praise Barber this offseason, but it’d still be surprising if Felix Jones doesn’t emerge as the lead back.

FULLBACK (1): Deon Anderson

Nothing we saw this offseason suggests that the Cowboys plan to scrap a traditional fullback in favor of a fourth tight end.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Sam Hurd

I can’t see the Cowboys keeping both Patrick Crayton ($2 million salary) and Hurd ($1.7 million). If the top three receivers stay healthy and Ogletree progresses, Crayton is expendable. Hurd might be the team’s best special teams player.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips

If Bennett plays to his potential, the Cowboys will have the league’s top tight end tandem.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Doug Free, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo, Alex Barron, Montrae Holland, Robert Brewster, Travis Bright

Pat McQuistan, a four-year veteran, is likely the odd man out if the Cowboys don’t decide to keep a 10th offensive lineman. Bright earns a promotion from the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (5): Igor Olshansky, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore

Just a hunch that the Cowboys end up going heavy at end, where three players are on one-year tenders. The coaches believe seventh-rounder Lissemore can also play nose tackle, but he’s focusing on end for now.

NOSE TACKLES (2): Jay Ratliff, Junior Siavii

After reviewing all the game film after the season, Wade Phillips felt better about Siavii, a big body who performed pretty well when giving the All-Pro Ratliff a breather.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Brandon Williams, Victor Butler

There isn’t a better duo than Ware and Spencer. The Cowboys hope at least one of the second-year players can contribute in a limited role to give the stars some rest.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5): Keith Brooking, Bradie James, Sean Lee, Jason Williams, Stephen Hodge

Phillips is a big fan of Hodge, a potential special teams stud who has excellent instincts in pass coverage. The hope is that Hodge, who is recovering from microfracture knee surgery, will be healthy at the beginning of training camp.

CORNERBACKS (4): Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Orlando Scandrick, Bryan McCann

The versatility of Alan Ball and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah allows the Cowboys to go light at cornerback. Nobody has separated themselves from the pack competing for the fourth spot.

SAFETIES (5): Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball, Mike Hamlin, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Pat Watkins

Undrafted free agents Barry Church and Danny McCray will challenge Watkins.

SPECIALISTS (4): L.P. Ladouceur, Mat McBriar, David Buehler, Kicker TBD

The Cowboys want Buehler to handle all the aspects of the kicking job, and Jerry Jones swears he likes what he sees from the strong-legged one. Sorry, I’m skeptical, expecting the Cowboys to sign a veteran kicker (Matt Stover?) in early September.