Ranking the Cowboys' roster
With training camp starting Monday, we've decided to rank the roster -- all 90 players. We'll do this again after camp.
This is based on talent, potential and importance to the team.
2012 Cowboys 90-Man Roster Player Rankings
No disputing the top two players in DeMarcus Ware, left, and Tony Romo, but you might want to argue Jay Ratliff's spot. Maybe Ratliff should be lower, but he's still a dominant force along the defensive line that you can't ignore. Brandon Carr debuts in the top 10 without having played a down for the Cowboys. His contract, five years at $50.1 million, and talent put him among the elite players on the team. DeMarco Murray needs to build off a wonderful rookie year to maintain his spot.
It's too early to move Morris Claiborne, left, into the top 10 without playing an NFL game, but it's clear the defensive coaches want to see what he can do. Anthony Spencer could be higher if he could get more than six sacks a season. Dan Connor and Bruce Carter will compete for a starting spot next to Sean Lee. We might see Connor on run plays and Carter on passing situations. Felix Jones and Gerald Sensabaugh are coming off surgeries, yet should be ready in time to start practice.
Kyle Orton gets a high ranking because he is the best backup quarterback the team has had since, well, when Romo backed up Drew Bledsoe in 2006. We all know what happened there. Dan Bailey, left, is a valuable weapon along with the rising Sean Lissemore. Victor Butler and John Phillips enter seasons when their production could be at its highest. It will be interesting to see if Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears maintain a roster spot when the season starts given how the team likes Lissemore at defensive end.
The Cowboys value the fullback spot and Lawrence Vickers, left, is an upgrade over Tony Fiammetta. Murray loves using his fullbacks to help him gain yards, so don't be surprised if Vickers gets plenty of snaps. Brodney Pool had a down year last year for the New York Jets so he has something to prove. Likewise for Kevin Ogletree, who gets another chance to become the No. 3 receiver. Andre Holmes and Jermey Parnell are talented players who will challenge for playing time in 2012.
Raymond Radway missed out on a roster spot last year due to his leg injury in the final preseason game. Alex Albright, left, has a future and don't be surprised if Tyrone Crawford impresses in camp and the preseason to earn significant snaps during the season. This could be Stephen McGee's final time with the Cowboys. If he struggles, his spot might be gone. Ronald Leary has a chance to play both guard spots and the team likes his potential.
Danny Coale looked good in the three-day rookie training camp practices and he'll fight Dwayne Harris, left, for one of five spots at wide receiver. Harris has to become a force on returns to make the squad. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah gets another chance to show he's an NFL player. Likewise for Pat McQuistan, who wants to become the swing tackle. Matt Johnson made plays in college, and now he has to transfer that to the pro game.
James Hanna struggled a bit during the three-day camp, especially catching the ball. He'll have to improve against better defenders in camp. Adrian Hamilton has the skill set to play on this level but will he make the adjustment from the SWAC to the NFL? Mana Silva and Caleb McSurdy, left, could develop into special-teams assets, keeping them around for a full season.
Lance Dunbar has good speed and vision and might return to the practice squad. Cole Beasley, left, looked pretty good at times during the offseason but has to challenge Coale for a possible roster spot. Rudy Carpenter has been with the Cowboys before and the experience he gained elsewhere could allow him to push McGee for the No. 3 spot, if the Cowboys keep three quarterbacks.
This might be the last chance for Teddy Williams, left, to make the roster. He's improved as a player but needs to finish plays. This summer is a big test for him to do that. If Charley Hughlett does well in camp and preseason games, he could be the next deep snapper. Saalim Hakim has terrific speed for a receiver but can he cover guys on kickoffs and punts to earn a roster spot?
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