The Dallas Cowboys open training camp July 27 at the River Ridge Residence Inn in Oxnard, California. Here’s a 53-man roster projection:
By no means is the backup job settled. Mike White has a better arm but still has a lot to learn. If he performs better in preseason action, then he can win this job from Rush. It is possible the Cowboys look for a backup over the summer if the youngsters struggle. Carrying three quarterbacks doesn’t seem like an option right now.
Jackson gets the edge coming into camp based solely on special-teams experience, but seventh-rounder Mike Weber can put himself in the mix with a good camp. Neither will be able to run behind the strongest of lines in the preseason, so showing they can make something out of nothing will help their cause.
FULLBACK (1): Jamize Olawale
Kellen Moore used the fullback a ton in the offseason program. Is that something that will continue when the season starts?
The decision to release Allen Hurns puts Austin on the roster, but his position isn’t too secure. The Cowboys like their young receivers, like Cedrick Wilson, Jon’Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton. Former Jets second-rounder Devin Smith also could work his way into the mix.
Witten will not play every snap, as he did for most of his career, but he will get the majority of work. Jarwin came on late last season and can stretch the field. This feels like the end for Rico Gathers.
The Cowboys have some veteran depth that could attract attention from linemen-needy teams as the summer goes on. Xavier Su’a-Filo did a decent job taking over for Williams last year, but the Cowboys took McGovern in the third round, so he fills one of the interior backup roles this year.
Like the offensive line, this group is deep and the Cowboys could be able to make some moves later this summer. The potential return from suspension of Randy Gregory would make this group even more difficult to figure and could put former first-rounder Charlton on the roster bubble.
Vander Esch, Smith and Lee gives the Cowboys a strong starting group. Thomas can do a little bit of everything. Covington and March-Lillard have to be big-time special-teams players.
Iloka was the biggest “name” signing in the offseason in the secondary, but he will have to perform when the pads come on during camp to lock down a spot over Kavon Frazier. Thompson has become one of Kris Richard’s favorites. Goodwin might be their best special-teamer. Jones will be limited early in camp by hip surgery but believes he will be ready for the regular season.
Jones needs to have something of a bounce-back season. Maher needs a tad more consistency. Ladouceur just seems to roll on without any signs of slowing down.