Will running back be on the field in time for the Cowboys’ Week 1 game against the Giants? 

The Dallas Cowboys will cut their roster to 53 players on 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here’s a projection:

QUARTERBACK (2): Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush

Rush has performed better than Mike White in the preseason games. His command of the offense is greater and White has not been able to stay away from mistakes or make critical plays. It is still remotely possible the Cowboys look for outside help, but Rush is close to claiming the job.

RUNNING BACK (3): Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Alfred Morris

Clearly, this is believing Elliott will show up before the first game of the regular season. Morris provides some veteran cover even if Elliott needs time. As much as the Cowboys like what Pollard has done in the preseason, he has never been an every-down back.

FULLBACK (1): Jamize Olawale

Olawale continues to get a lot of work in camp with a commitment to the fullback position and has done a nice job as a pass-catcher. He is also a core special-teamer.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Devin Smith, Cedrick Wilson

Could the Cowboys go with five receivers? Probably. Noah Brown has had a role the past two seasons but has yet to practice because of knee surgery. He could open the season on the physically unable to perform list. Austin has had a productive summer and earns a job, but his role is up in the air, especially with Pollard’s multidimensional ability.

TIGHT END (3): Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz

Witten’s comeback continues to be one of the better stories of the summer. He looks like he’s always looked and the hope is by playing him fewer snaps he will be fresher week to week. But that could be difficult early on with Jarwin and Schultz limited after the first preseason game because of injuries. Once healthy, Jarwin will have a big role.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Cam Fleming, Joe Looney, Connor McGovern, Xavier Su’a-Filo

With Martin not getting much work because of a back injury and Smith slowed a little late in camp, if you have the depth, use it. The Cowboys have depth, which could lead to some cut-down day trading (perhaps Su’a-Filo), but they need to tread cautiously here.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10): DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton, Trysten Hill, Dorance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, Joe Jackson

Robert Quinn is suspended for the first two games and Randy Gregory remains indefinitely suspended, so there are some spots open. Lawrence and Crawford will enter the season with limited work in the summer because of injury, so a deep rotation matters. Jackson, a rookie, has the ability to play inside and outside, so that helps his cause.

LINEBACKER (6): Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Justin March-Lillard, Chris Covington

This might be the best top four linebackers the Cowboys have had since converting back to the 4-3 scheme in 2013. Vander Esch, Lee, Smith and Thomas can play multiple spots. If not for a high ankle sprain, undrafted rookie Luke Gifford could have been one of the picks and it is possible he still makes it on the opening roster.

SECONDARY (10): Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Kavon Frazier, Darian Thompson, Donovan Wilson, C.J. Goodwin

George Iloka never really has had a chance to play with the starters or second team, so the edge for a backup spot goes to Frazier, who remains a core special-teamer. Goodwin has been OK as a backup corner but he too is a special-teams ace. With Jones coming back from hip surgery and not getting any work in practice to date, it is possible he is worked in slowly over the first few games.

SPECIALISTS (3): Brett Maher, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur

Maher missed field goal attempts in the first two preseason games, but the Cowboys have not added an experienced leg to battle for the spot. Jones has been OK. Ladouceur seems to roll on without any signs of slowing down.


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