Version 6.0: 53-man roster projection

There are a few pressing questions: How many safeties can the Cowboys keep? Go with two fullbacks and two tight ends or one fullback and three tight ends? Does Stephen McGee merit a roster spot? Will there be more undrafted rookies than 2009 draft picks on the final roster?

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

McGee’s spot isn’t a lock. The Cowboys will consider keeping only two quarterbacks if he doesn’t play well in the final two preseason games. But they don’t believe they can get a quarterback drafted in the fourth round last season through waivers to the practice squad.

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

Jerry Jones has been disappointed by the first-team offense’s poor rushing production in the preseason. At what point does Choice get a chance to play a larger role?

FULLBACKS (2): Deon Anderson, Chris Gronkowski

Gronkowski can play H-back and has done more to earn a roster spot than any of the third tight end candidates. He might be the guy if the Cowboys opt to keep only one fullback.

TIGHT ENDS (2): Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett

Martin Rucker has a chance to make the team, but I’d like to see him practice at least once before putting him on the roster. He can’t do a lot of the blocking work that John Phillips did last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, Patrick Crayton, Kevin Ogletree, Sam Hurd

The money says Jesse Holley will get the nod over Hurd. But Hurd worked with the top units on special teams Saturday night, an indication that he’s still clinging to his roster spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10): Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Marc Colombo, Doug Free, Alex Barron, Montrae Holland, Robert Brewster, Sam Young, Phil Costa

Front-office sources say that undrafted rookie center Costa looked like a roster lock before Kosier’s injury. The Cowboys think Costa, a smart, tough guy who would have been drafted if he had longer arms, can develop into a starter.

NOSE TACKLES (2): Jay Ratliff, Josh Brent

Junior Siavii is still working with the second team and made some plays against the Chargers. But Brent is a more explosive athlete. His bull-rush of the center helped cause Cletis Gordon’s interception.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (4): Igor Olshansky, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher

Hatcher hasn’t done anything in the preseason to push Spears out of the starting lineup. As Spears has said, their snaps will probably be close to equal at the end of the season.

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

Sorry, Steve Octavien. You had to go to make room for one of the rookie safeties. He’s the last cut.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Sean Lee, Jason Williams

You could make a case for Leon Williams over Jason Williams. But the Cowboys invested a third-round pick in Jason Williams last year. They knew he was a project then and aren’t going to give up on him so early.

CORNERBACKS (4): Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Orlando Scandrick, Cletis Gordon

Bryan McCann has played well enough to be on the roster. If he’s cut, the Cowboys will hope he clears waivers and ends up on their practice squad.

SAFETIES (6): Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball, Michael Hamlin, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Barry Church, Danny McCray

Church and McCray have been too good to cut. McCray is a special teams monster. Church held his own against one of the league’s elite starting offenses. If somebody in this group has to go, it might be Hamlin, who is expected to return to practice this week and needs to perform well.

SPECIALISTS (3): Mat McBriar, David Buehler, L.P. Ladouceur

The Cowboys wanted to see Buehler kick a field goal after his poor practice Thursday. They still think he can be the guy on field goals, but the 3-of-7 performance raised some doubts.

PRACTICE SQUAD: CB Bryan McCann, OG Travis Bright, WR Jesse Holley, DL Sean Lissemore, CB Teddy Williams, RB Lonyae Miller, CB Jamar Wall, TE Scott Sicko