The NFL and the player’s union agreed to expand the practice squad from eight to 10 players on Tuesday. Along with the extra men, eligibility rules have changed to allow each team two practice squad players with no more than 2 years of service time. Of course there are also some technicalities built in…
As the preseason winds down to a close, the Dallas Cowboys will cut to their regular season 53-man roster on August 31st. Keep in mind that practice squad players must also clear waivers. There are still two games for the first and second year players to rise and fall, but as of now, who should be expected to make the Cowboys practice squad?
The Cowboys will likely turn to their biggest position of depth to fill one or two spots– wide receiver. The Cowboys have talented players from the top to the bottom of the depth chart. Three receivers will be fighting it out for a practice squad spot: rookie Chris Boyd and second year players Jamar Newsome and Tim Benford.
Although multiple spots may be taken up by receivers, right now, it’s Newsome’s spot to lose. Newsome has five catches for a total of 67 yards with one touchdown in two preseason games. What might be holding him back is his age. At 26, the Cowboys might look past preseason production and let Newsome walk and instead chose to groom a younger talent like Chris Boyd.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a position with less depth– cornerback– will likely yield at least one practice squad player. With standout play in camp and during the first two games, expect rookie Terrence Mitchell to make the 53-man roster, OTA standout Tyler Patmon will likely fight for a spot with recently acquired second year player Justin Green. Green was brought in from the New England Patriots in exchange for Ben Bass and has three tackles during his 2014 preseason campaign.
With game experience and what was invested in him, give an early advantage to Green. It is also likely that either Patmon of Green see the active roster with cornerback Mo Claiborne’s injury prone nature or B.W. Webb’s inconsistent play. This battle will likely come down to the final practices and final preseason game.
Other names to look out for: fullback J.C. Copeland, guard Ronald Patrick, linebacker Will Smith, quarterback Dustin Vaughan, tight end Asa Watson, defensive ends Kenneth Boatright and Caesar Rayford, defensive tackle Zach Minter, and offensive tackle John Wetzel.