Here is a position-by-position look at who stays and who goes when the Dallas Cowboys makes their final cuts.
Dustin Vaughan could benefit from the Cowboys not needing to go heavy on the offensive line. He played better Thursday than he had in the previous two games but was it good enough? If he clears waivers, the Cowboys could look to continue his development on the practice squad.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
This group will be watched intently all season with all the calls others have made for the Cowboys to upgrade the position in free agency, the draft or via trade. The Cowboys have made the commitment to these guys all spring and summer. That’s not going to change now. If they add to the position, it still would not be a name player.
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
Of course the Cowboys could add a sixth receiver if they choose to but it has to be a certain type of receiver. They need to cover themselves with a veteran should something happen to Bryant or Williams during the season. Street has some ability but an ankle injury has slowed him over the past couple of weeks.
TIGHT END (4)
In a perfect world, maybe the Cowboys wouldn’t keep a fullback and a fourth tight end, but Swaim has done enough to make the roster and Hanna is in the final year of his contract. Escobar remains something of a mystery. By the end of camp Swaim was getting more work with the first team in part because of Hanna’s knee injury.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
The starting five might be the best in the NFL. Martin did not play in the final three preseason games because of a stinger but he will be ready Week 1. Bernadeau can play all three interior spots, which is a plus. Collins needs more time before he can get a role. There are questions about Weems, who will be the swing tackle, but for the start of the season it makes more sense to go with him than to add an equally inexperienced player without the familiarity with the Cowboys’ scheme
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
Greg Hardy is not on the list because of a suspension. Gregory will have to play more snaps early in the season with Hardy out but the Cowboys have been impressed with his ability against the run. The final spots came down to Coleman, Lavar Edwards and Ken Bishop. I wanted to go with Bishop because of his bulk but the premium for the Cowboys is to rush the passer even if you’re a defensive tackle. Coleman got the edge but if they go 10 defensive lineman, Bishop is the pick.
Rolando McClain will miss the first four games because of a suspension, so he’s not on the list. Smith gets the last spot right now because of his special-teams ability. That puts Jasper Brinkley, who was guaranteed $2 million as a free agent, on the outside. That’s a good chunk to pay a player not to be on the team but Smith can help more on game day.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)
I think the Cowboys could look to add a defensive back off the waiver wire once the final cuts are done. The loss of Orlando Scandrick hurts, but the Cowboys feel comfortable with Claiborne on the outside and Patmon inside. If Claiborne falters, then Jones could move outside but the team might want to look at him as a free safety possibility. They have versatility with this group with Jones and White having the ability to play safety, too. Heath and McCray are core special-teamers.
The Cowboys are more than pleased with this trio.