The final 53-man roster projection

After five weeks of training camp and five preseason games, the Turk swings the axe on Saturday afternoon.

Here's how we envision the roster shaping up:

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

McGee made sure that he wasn’t on the bubble by treating the Miami defense like Texas. For the first time as a pro, he played with swagger while displaying all the attributes the Cowboys liked when they drafted him in the fourth round: arm strength, athleticism, intelligence and character.

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

The preseason numbers from this group weren’t pretty, but the Cowboys are confident that their production will resemble last season, when they tied for the NFC lead in yards per carry (4.8).

FULLBACKS (1): Chris Gronkowski

Maybe they keep Deon Anderson, too, and go with two tight ends. If they have to choose, Gronkowski is younger, cheaper, more versatile and doesn’t have a court date scheduled for the end of the month.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, Martin Rucker

Rucker had an impressive 17-yard catch and run on the game-winning drive and made a tackle on kickoff coverage. The Cowboys were looking for reasons to keep him.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Sam Hurd

Don’t mistake this for approval on parting ways with Patrick Crayton. But the writing is on the wall. The question is whether Hurd will also get let go in a cost-cutting move. That’d be ridiculous nickel-and-diming for a franchise that expects to contend for the Super Bowl.

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

This is an area the Cowboys could – and should – look to upgrade the depth. Anybody confident in Holland or Barron after watching the last couple of preseason games?

NOSE TACKLES (3): Jay Ratliff, Junior Siavii, Josh Brent

Jerry Jones wasn’t blowing smoke when he brought up the possibility of keeping both backup nose tackles. Siavii is more prepared to help this season. Brent has more potential.

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

None of these guys are stars, but they’re all solid players. They make for a good rotation with Olshansky and Spears stuffing the run and Bowen and Hatcher pressuring the passer.

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

Butler might have had the best preseason on the team. Steve Octavien is the 54th man.

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

Leon Williams is more prepared to play right now than Jason Williams. But there’s probably only room for one on the roster, and the Cowboys aren’t going to give up on a 2009 third-round project so soon.

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

Bryan McCann really struggled in the preseason finale. That might have cost him a roster spot, but the good news for the Cowboys is that it significantly increases the odds they can get him through waivers onto the practice squad.

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

McCray’s special teams prowess keeps him off the bubble. Owusu-Ansah has the talent to end up being the best player of this bunch.

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

David Buehler made it a no-brainer decision not to pursue a veteran kicker.

PRACTICE SQUAD: CB Bryan McCann, OG Travis Bright, WR Jesse Holley, DL Sean Lissemore, CB Teddy Williams, RB Lonyae Miller, CB Jamar Wall, OG Mike Tepper.