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Vol. 5: MacMahon's 53-man roster projection

This is my fifth weekly educated guess at what the Cowboys' 53-man roster will look like after final cuts.

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Tony Romo

Jon Kitna

Stephen McGee

McGee will play most of the preseason finale. The Cowboys hope those are the last game snaps he’ll take until next preseason.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Felix Jones

DeMarco Murray

Tashard Choice

Phillip Tanner

A bruised knee prevents Choice from getting a final chance to prove he deserves a roster spot. However, Murray’s lack of practice reps makes it risky to go without a veteran backup for Jones. It would also be risky to try to get Tanner to the practice squad after a stellar preseason.

FULLBACKS (1)

Jason Pociask

The Cowboys aren’t excited about any of the fullbacks, so Pociask’s position flexibility could be the determining factor. He’s a tight end who moved to fullback during training camp.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jason Witten

Martellus Bennett

John Phillips

Maybe Bennett’s high ankle sprain, which is expected to sideline him 2-4 weeks, opens a roster spot for Martin Rucker.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Miles Austin

Dez Bryant

Kevin Ogletree

Jesse Holley

Dwayne Harris

Holley has shown significant progress as a receiver the last two weeks, which was necessary with the new kickoff rules decreasing his value as a special-teams ace. There is still a possibility that the Cowboys could look for a veteran third receiver after final cuts or Week 1. There is also a chance undrafted track star Raymond Radway beats out Harris.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Doug Free

Kyle Kosier

Phil Costa

Montrae Holland

Tyron Smith

Sam Young

David Arkin

Bill Nagy

Jermey Parnell

Kosier and Nagy have worked at center, and one would slide over from guard if Costa can’t play. Kevin Kowalski is a prime practice squad candidate.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Jay Ratliff

Marcus Spears

Kenyon Coleman

Josh Brent

Jason Hatcher

Sean Lissemore

Clifton Geathers, who has the ideal frame for a 3-4 defensive end, is a sleeper. It’d be surprising if Igor Olshansky, a $3.4 million backup, isn’t cut in a business decision.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

Bradie James

Keith Brooking

Sean Lee

Kenwin Cummings

Bruce Carter was put on the non-football injury reserved list this week, meaning he’s out for at least the first six weeks. Orie Lemon’s hamstring injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the undrafted rookie.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

DeMarcus Ware

Anthony Spencer

Victor Butler

Alex Albright

It’s time for Brandon Williams to join the long line of 2009 draft picks the Cowboys cut.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Terence Newman

Mike Jenkins

Orlando Scandrick

Alan Ball

Bryan McCann

Mario Butler

Josh Thomas’ hamstring injury also came at a terrible time. Plus, he has been outplayed by McCann and Butler throughout training camp and the preseason. Can the Cowboys get a fifth-round pick on the practice squad?

SAFETIES (4)

Abram Elam

Gerald Sensabaugh

Barry Church

Danny McCray

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah needs to stand out against the Dolphins to save his job.

SPECIALISTS (4)

Mat McBriar

Dave Rayner

David Buehler

L.P. Ladouceur

Keeping two kickers is far from ideal, but Jason Garrett strongly hinted that it would be seriously considered. Even with the new kickoff rules, Buehler is the only one in the Cowboys’ kicker army who can consistently put the ball in the end zone. Too bad he isn’t consistent on field goals.