Cowboys Insider Predicts Shocking Cuts in Bombshell 53-Man Roster Projection

Jerry Jones

Getty Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys welcomes fans to training camp in 2021.

The Dallas Cowboys are figuring out who will make up the team’s final roster, and those in the know are revealing who they expect to make it to the fall.

The Cowboys only have 53 roster spots to work with, which means there will always be worthy or talented players that are deemed surplus to Dallas’ needs. Narrowing that down is always a challenge, and the Cowboys are coming off a relatively successful season as the NFC East champs.

The Athletic reporter Jon Machota took the challenge of predicting the team’s final roster, which came with some surprising decisions. In terms of veterans that Machota expects to depart, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins stands out.

“Veteran Carlos Watkins was the odd man out despite having played 438 defensive snaps last year,” Machota explained. “Dallas would be thrilled to have a difficult decision like this because it would likely mean the others are all healthy entering the season. [DeMarcus] Lawrence, [Dorance] Armstrong, [Dante] Fowler and [Sam] Williams should see the most snaps off the edge. [Neville] Gallimore and [Osa] Odighizuwa should see the most snaps on the inside.”

Watkins has significant NFL experience and was a solid presence on the defensive line in 2021, which makes his potential release surprising.

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Watkins Coming Off First Year in Dallas

After four years with the Houston Texans, Watkins swapped Texas cities for the Cowboys and became an integral part of a unit that needed healthy and consistent players.

Watkins did his job as a big-body stopper on the interior defensive line, but chipped in with a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown according to Pro Football Reference. The video below shows Watkins pulling down the ball and his ensuing reaction.

Before arriving in Dallas, Watkins had similar impacts with Houston as a player who is supposed to stop the run but needs to make big plays to stand out. In Dallas, he did that well, but it’s also hard to consider the former Clemson Tiger as a must-have player in 2022.

Machota’s Other Notable Roster Predictions for Cowboys

Besides the prediction of Watkins missing the 53-man roster, Machota also had some notable decisions for other positional groups. Namely, rolling with nine offensive lineman and just five receivers sticks out.

The group Machota expects at wide receiver is as follows:

  • CeeDee Lamb
  • Michael Gallup
  • James Washington
  • Jalen Tolbert
  • Noah Brown

ESPN reporter Todd Archer expects Dallas to roll with six total receivers, with TJ Vausher being the name that makes it through. As for the other five options, both reporters are on the same page.

That being said, Machota did mention that Gallup’s health isn’t something to rely on, which would open a spot for Simi Fehoko or Vausher.

“It’s very possible that Gallup (knee) could start the season on the physically unable to perform list, which would open up a roster spot for Simi Fehoko, last year’s fifth-round pick,” Machota wrote. “But if all are healthy, these are the top five wide receivers on the Cowboys’ depth chart.”

It does feel like those five are locks, but there’s clearly a difference in thought among the insiders covering the Cowboys.

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