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Cowboys' final roster projection

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have to cut the roster to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET Saturday, but in reality they could go much lower than that with needs at several positions.

Here’s the final roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo

Kyle Orton

They are set here and could look to put Alex Tanney on the practice squad as a developmental guy.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

DeMarco Murray

Lance Dunbar

Phillip Tanner

Joseph Randle

Dunbar’s foot injury helped Tanner wrap up a spot, but I do wonder if he will stay on the roster for the whole season. He’s a special teams’ guy, too, so that helps his cause.

RECEIVERS (5)

Dez Bryant

Miles Austin

Terrance Williams

Dwayne Harris

Cole Beasley

I had Anthony Armstrong as the sixth guy all summer, but I just don’t know how they can take six receivers to the game, so it doesn’t make sense to keep six on the 53. Plus Armstrong’s money is guaranteed if he is on the roster for the year. I can see him coming back in Week 2.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Jason Witten

James Hanna

Gavin Escobar

Andre Smith

Dante Rosario has a history with special teams’ coach Rich Bisaccia but he had a number of miscues on special teams in the preseason games. He’s similar to Hanna, so I would rather have Smith, a blocker, on the roster than another pass-catching type.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Tyron Smith

Doug Free

Travis Frederick

Ronald Leary

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Phil Costa

Jermey Parnell

David Arkin

Unknown addition

Arkin is not a lock by any stretch. Nate Livings' $1.7 million is guaranteed whether he's on the team or not, and I think the Cowboys move on. But they'll be looking for help here in free agency or waiver-wire pickups.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

DeMarcus Ware

Anthony Spencer

Jason Hatcher

Nick Hayden

Ben Bass

Kyle Wilber

George Selvie

Landon Cohen

Jason Vega

Jay Ratliff is on PUP and does not count against the roster. Lissemore’s concussion clouds the issue but I think they will move on from him. This is a painfully thin group. Selvie, Cohen and Vega weren’t with the team since camp started. Wilber needs to pick up his play, too. They can ill afford any injury here. A waiver-wire pickup is possible.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Sean Lee

Bruce Carter

Justin Durant

Ernie Sims

DeVonte Holloman

Unknown player

Another thin group. Brandon Magee missed the last two preseason games with a concussion and is on the bubble. If they can’t grab a waiver-wire guy, then he lands the sixth spot, but only because they didn’t get what they wanted out of the entire group of backups.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr

Morris Claiborne

Orlando Scandrick

Sterling Moore

B.W. Webb

Webb gave up two touchdowns vs. Houston and is just not ready. Moore is on shaky ground, too. The top three are set, but the Cowboys could look for help here as well.

SAFETIES (6)

Barry Church

Will Allen

J.J. Wilcox

Danny McCray

Jeff Heath

Eric Frampton

Frampton claims the special teams’ spot vacated by Rosario despite a calf injury that has kept him out since Aug. 10. With all of the breakdowns in the preseason, they need some veteran help and Frampton provides that. Time ran out on Matt Johnson, but I can see him being back on the practice squad.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey

Chris Jones

L.P. LaDouceur

No changes here.