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Vol. IV: 53-man roster projection

OXNARD, Calif. -- There are a couple of tweaks, marked by asterisks, in the fourth edition of our 53-man roster projection.

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo

Kyle Orton

There is a close to zero-percent chance that the Cowboys keep three quarterbacks.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

DeMarco Murray

Lance Dunbar

Phillip Tanner

Joseph Randle

If the Cowboys decide to keep three running backs, Tanner is likely the odd man out. But he’s running well and is the best special teams player of the bunch.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Jason Witten

Gavin Escobar

James Hanna

Dante Rosario

Blocking beast Andre Smith was included in last week’s projection, but he’s cooled off after a strong start to camp. And the Cowboys have too many other needs to keep a fifth tight end.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Dez Bryant

Miles Austin

Terrance Williams

Dwayne Harris

Cole Beasley

You can make a strong case for Anthony Armstrong deserving a roster spot. It’s just hard to make room for him, which would require the Cowboys to keep six receivers.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Tyron Smith

Ronald Leary

Travis Frederick

*Brian Waters

Doug Free

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Jermey Parnell

Phil Costa

Nate Livings

The big question is whether Waters will sign. That isn’t likely to be resolved before the Cowboys break camp. If Waters is on the team, why keep Livings? Livings, who has lost his starting spot at left guard to Leary, will count $2.4 million against the cap whether or not he’s on the roster. And he’s better than David Arkin.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

DeMarcus Ware

Jay Ratliff

Jason Hatcher

Anthony Spencer

Sean Lissemore

Kyle Wilber

Ben Bass

Nick Hayden

George Selvie

Selvie, the Hall of Fame Game star, needs to keep performing well to convince the Cowboys to keep a ninth defensive lineman instead of, say, a sixth receiver or 10th offensive lineman.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Bruce Carter

Sean Lee

Justin Durant

*Ernie Sims

Alex Albright

DeVonte Holloman

Brandon Magee

I’ve been slow to put Sims on the roster, but he’s been the best of the backups. He’s challenging Durant for a starting job on the strong side, although Sims hit a snag by straining his groin Sunday.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr

Morris Claiborne

Orlando Scandrick

Sterling Moore

B.W. Webb

Webb has had a woeful camp and certainly struggled in Oakland, but the Cowboys aren’t going to cut a fourth-round pick who was the No. 47 player on their draft board.

SAFETIES (5)

Barry Church

Will Allen

J.J. Wilcox

Danny McCray

Matt Johnson

With Johnson hurt again, it’s awfully tempting to put Eric Frampton in his place. Frampton is also a better safety with a smaller salary than McCray. Does McCray’s special teams prowess save his roster spot? How long will the Cowboys continue being patient with the injury-prone Johnson?

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey

Chris Jones

L.P. Ladouceur

Go ahead and put these in ink.