Dallas Cowboys post-draft 53-man roster projection

April 30, 2024

It is time for a post-draft 53-man roster prediction.

Notre Dame v Stanford

The Dallas Cowboys have added eight drafted rookies, plus a dozen more undrafted free agents, over the last few days. Plus, they’ve agreed to terms with former star RB Ezekiel Elliott. So with this influx of talent, it’s a good time to reassess how the projected 2024 roster stands for the remainder of the offseason.

We’re far from done in terms of player acquisition. Like Zeke before now, there are still veteran free agents out there who could fill some holes on the depth chart. There are also trade opportunities, like the Cowboys took advantage of last year with WR Brandin Cooks and CB Stephon Gilmore. Sometimes, those become more apparent after the draft when teams have added younger talent and are looking to get something for a potential veteran castoff.

So yeah, this projection process is only just beginning. But this will give us a sense of where the Cowboys are today and what moves could come between now and training camp.


Quarterback (2)

Dak Prescott, Trey Lance

Running Back (3)

Ezekiel Elliott, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn

Fullback (1)

Hunter Luepke

Wide Receiver (5)

CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Jalen Tolbert
KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Brooks

Tight End (4)

Jake Ferguson, Luke Schoonmaker,
John Stephens, Peyton Hendershot

Offensive Line (9)

Tyler Smith, Zack Martin, Terence Steele
Tyler Guyton, Cooper Beebe, Brock Hoffman
T.J. Bass, Asim Richards, Nathan Thomas

The big offensive line additions of Tyler Guyton and Cooper Beebe were the highlights of the draft. While Guyton probably won’t be the next Tyron Smith, he has the potential to be a quality starting LT for many years. The bar wasn’t set nearly as high at center by Tyler Biadasz, so hopefully Beebe can make the transition quickly. T.J. Bass and Brock Hoffman could still compete for that job, especially if Beebe needs more time. It was a rough weekend for guys like Josh Ball and Matt Waletzko, who likely saw their roster spots gobbled up by fresh faces.

Dallas will have some business decisions to make at the bottom of their RB, WR, and TE depth charts. Do they keep a fullback at all? Do they go long at receiver to secure Ryan Flournoy? Do they need a fourth TE on the roster or could they just rotate through practice squad guys? This configuration above is just one way of making the math work, and it’ll all come down to projected utilization, special teams value, and fear of losing certain guys from the practice squad.

Speaking of the squad, is that where Cooper Rush lands this year? Maybe Dallas tries to trade Rush for a late-round pick or some other veteran asset for a team needing depth at quarterback. But unless they’ve been running a total con on us, Trey Lance almost has to be your primary backup. They could still keep Rush as QB3, valuing his presence in the room, but the cost is a valuable roster spot at another position.


Defensive End (6)

Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Sam Williams
Marshawn Kneeland, Chauncey Golston, Villiami Fehoko

Defensive Tackle (4)

Osa Odighizuwa, Mazi Smith
Justin Rogers, Denzel Daxon

Linebacker (5)

Eric Kendricks, Damone Clark, DeMarvion Overshown
Marist Liufau, Damien Wilson

Cornerback (6)

Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland, Jourdan Lewis
Israel Mukuamu, Eric Scott, Caelen Carson

Safety (4)

Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson
Juanyeh Thomas, Markquese Bell

Things feel somewhat better on defense after the draft. Dallas addressed some key needs by adding Marshawn Kneeland to the pass-rush rotation, Marist Liufau for linebacker depth and a true Mike option behind Eric Kendricks, and Caelen Carson as a new CB prospect to replace certified dud Nahshon Wright. The tops of the depth charts were not impacted by this draft, but that was anticipated going in.

Still, the Cowboys should be actively looking for more help at defensive tackle. They have options for run-stuffers with Mazi Smith, veteran Carl Davis, and rookie Justin Rogers. But unless they intend to transition Chauncey Golston and/or Villiami Fehoko inside, which doesn’t track in a Mike Zimmer scheme, they need at least one more guy to back up Osa Odighizuwa. UDFA Denzel Daxon has a shot there, but a free agent or trade target in the coming months feels likely.

At linebacker, there will be a battle at the bottom of the depth chart between re-signed veteran Damien Wilson, fourth-year prospect Buddy Johnson, UDFAs Jason Johnson and Brock Mogenson, and whoever else gets added along the way. For now we’re going with Wilson given his experience but it’s really a crap-shoot at this point.


K Brandon Aubrey, P Bryan Anger
LS Trent Sieg, ST C.J. Goodwin

Nothing to change here. Three are locks, and the only way C.J. Goodwin’s gone is if somebody can close on his special teams value while also providing meaningful work in their primary position. It hasn’t happened since 2018, so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes from this year’s camp.