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Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sizing up the Cowboys' depth chart

By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com

Now that the NFL draft is over, here is the Cowboys' projected depth chart:

OFFENSE


QUARTERBACK

Tony Romo
Tono Romo just turned 30 and is in his prime.
Tony Romo: Coming off one of his best seasons, and after turning 30 is entering his prime

Jon Kitna: Trusted backup isn't going anywhere, and he's a sounding board for Roy Williams

Stephen McGee: Coming off injuries, so the team wants to see what he can do in camp

RUNNING BACK

Felix Jones: The team hasn't announced it yet, but he will eventually take the No. 1 spot over

Marion Barber: Is determined to go injury-free in 2010 while holding his starting job

Tashard Choice: Wants more playing time but won't get it with Barber on the roster

Herb Donaldson: Spent last year on the practice squad and could do so again

Deon Anderson: The fullback has a job as long as he's healthy

WIDE RECEIVER

Miles Austin: The No. 1 receiving threat, but has to prove he's not a one-hit wonder

Roy Williams: Two bad seasons has put his playing time and future in doubt

Dez Bryant: The rookie moves into the No. 3 spot and is expected to make an impact

Patrick Crayton: Seeks a trade but not getting bites, so trusted veteran could stay

Kevin Ogletree: Team has high hopes thanks to his speed and playmaking ability

Sam Hurd: Ace special teams player who wants out as his role gets reduced

Manuel Johnson: A year away from pushing someone for an active roster spot

Jesse Holley: The realty show winner needs another year to learn

TIGHT END

Jason Witten
Jason Witten is coming off his second career thousand-yard season.
Jason Witten: One of the top players on the team and Romo's favorite target

Martellus Bennett: Must step up his game once the regular-season starts

John Phillips: Cowboys like his potential; fighting Bennett for playing time

LEFT TACKLE

Doug Free: When Flozell Adams was cut, Free was given the task of playing left tackle

Pat McQuistan: He might get a position change if the club thinks he can't handle this spot

LEFT GUARD

Kyle Kosier: In the final year of his contract, he's a strong force inside

Cory Procter: He's also the backup center and is steady

RIGHT GUARD

Leonard Davis: Cowboys hinted he could move to tackle; he's strong where he is

Travis Bright: Still developing his game, probably a few years away

CENTER

Andre Gurode: The Pro Bowler remains a constant strength

RIGHT TACKLE

Marc Colombo: Hoping to play injury-free in 2010; one of the nastiest on the line

Robert Brewster: Missed last year with an injury; team would like to see what he can do

Sam Young: The rookie can play both tackle spots; he's a backup for now

DEFENSE


LEFT END

Marcus Spears
Marcus Spears had 50 tackles, 2.5 sacks and tied his career best with 16 quarterback pressures last season.
Marcus Spears: Is worried about a trade but must maintain his starting gig

Jason Hatcher: Coaches looking to see if he can challenge Spears for the starting job

Marcus Dixon: Cowboys expect him to step up to active roster this year

NOSE TACKLE

Jay Ratliff: The best player on the defensive line and second best on the defense

Junior Siavii: Could use more playing time, but is doing well when he gets in

RIGHT END

Igor Olshansky: Was a solid contributor last year, and the expectations are the same

Stephen Bowen: He's the nickel guy who could challenge for more playing time

Sean Lissemore: The seventh-round pick will get some time to develop

STRONGSIDE LINEBACKER

Anthony Spencer; Emerged as a force last year, has to do it again

Victor Butler: Earned a starting spot for one game and was benched quickly

Curtis Johnson: Cowboys need to see more of him in 2010

WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER

DeMarcus Ware: The superstar linebacker is looking for an injury-free year

Brandon Williams: Needs to show the coaches what he can do when healthy

MIKE MIDDLE LINEBACKER

Bradie James: The inside linebacker is the heart and soul of the defense

Sean Lee: The rookie will challenge to become the nickel linebacker

Bobby Carpenter: Currently is the nickel linebacker but is looking over his shoulder

Steve Octavien: Will get some special teams time

MO MIDDLE LINEBACKER

Keith Brooking
Keith Brooking has been effective but will turn 35 in October.
Keith Brooking: Is getting older, so just how long can he go?

Jason Williams: Looks for playing time while staying healthy

Stephen Hodge: If he's healthy enough, he will play special teams

Donovan Woods: Battling for a roster spot

LEFT CORNERBACK

Terence Newman: Coming off a Pro Bowl season and is steady

Orlando Scandrick: The slot corner got better in the second half of last year

Jamar Wall: The young player could see some special teams time

RIGHT CORNERBACK

Mike Jenkins: Is getting better and better

Cletis Gordon: Is going to get a chance to play special teams

Marquis Floyd: Spent last year on practice squad, might be headed there again

FREE SAFETY

Alan Ball: If they don't get a veteran, it's his job to lose

Mike Hamlin: Wrist injury slowed his development; he's healthy now

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: The fourth-round pick won't be around until camp

STRONG SAFETY

Gerald Sensabaugh: Wants long-term deal and will probably get it

Pat Watkins: A strong special teams player who is counted on in a pinch

SPECIALISTS

FIELD GOAL KICKER

David Buehler: He will get his chance to win the job

Connor Hughes: If he can't beat out Buehler, he will be sent home

PUNTER

Mat McBriar: Strong but is not satisfied

PUNT RETURNS

Dez Bryant: Has the physical skills to make plays here

Patrick Crayton: If Bryant can't do this, Crayton gets the job back

Terence Newman: Has the speed for this spot but is better at corner

KICK RETURNS

Felix Jones: Increased playing time might take him out of this role

Miles Austin: Has the speed for this spot, but …

Dez Bryant: This guy might take it over

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: Very good in college, could be in the pros too

Cletis Gordon: He will get a strong look

LONG SNAPPER

L.P. Ladouceur: Very good at what he does

HOLDER

Mat McBriar: He hated doing this job, but he might have to do it again

Tony Romo: He hates this job

Patrick Crayton: Former college quarterback