Cowboys Postional Breakdown: Outside Linebacker Who Stays, Who Goes?


If churning the bottom of the roster is what the Dallas Cowboys intended to do by acquiring additional linebackers during this years NFL draft then management has definitely positioned the coaches with the talent to do so.

Last season the Cowboys opening day roster consisted of seven linebackers three of which were inside linebacker. Dallas wrapped up the 2011 NFL season with eight linebackers on the roster adding, rookie Bruce Carter, from the PUP list after week six.

Not only do the Cowboys have all starting, reserve and practice squad outside linebackers returning to this season’s training camp but the team added linebackers Kyle Wilber and Caleb McSurdy during the 2012 NFL draft.

Along with the draft picks the Cowboys also added, Prairie View A&M standout Adrian Hamilton and Aston Whiteside of Abilene Christian, as undrafted free agents. Caleb McSurdy will likely compete at inside linebacker leaving seven outside linebackers to compete for four of the 53-man roster spots and two possible practice squad spots.

Many of you may have read the Dallas Cowboys mini-camp News, notes, and observations and if you have then you know up to this point in the offseason, Aston Whiteside has been heard from very little in his opportunities during OTA’s and mini-camp but his undrafted equal Adrian Hamilton has really been seen making the most of every opportunity thrown his way.  

Standing at 6’2.5″ Adrian Hamilton may not be as tall as some team’s desire with a 3-4 outside linebacker but whatHamiltonmay lack in size the player makes up with effort and ability.

Adrian Hamilton broke the Southwestern Athletic Conference single-season sack record with 20.5 as a defensive end lining up with a hand on the ground, a sack record that was previously held by Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis. But stillHamilton was left without an invitation to the NFL combine despite having a stellar senior season.Hamilton’s Prairie View pro day yielded results that wouldn’t have landed him tops in any of the desired combine measurable butHamilton wouldn’t have finished bottom rung either.

Hamilton is being moved to outside linebacker and still continues to show very good rushing agility along with the ability to get pressure up field. Bryan Broaddus of admits that Hamilton has a chance to make the 53 man roster and looks very comfortable when dropping into coverage when the defense called requires him to do so.

Word on Adrian Hamilton coming out of Valley Ranch is that the converted linebacker is taking full advantage of every opportunity he is getting and delivering nothing but positive end results with those opportunities.

If Adrian Hamilton sustains the torrent pace, that he is being noticed for, through training camp the Cowboys will have some tough decisions to make when filling the four outside linebacker positions on the team and unless they plan to cut Alex Albright, who has shown potential, 2012 4th round draft pick Kyle Wilber, or either two of last years practice squad linebackers then Adrian Hamilton will not make the team.

Everyone knows Victor Butler is not going anywhere along with Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. Many also know that Adrian Hamilton will not last long on the practice squad before being plucked right out from under the Dallas Cowboys.

All this leaving the likely scenario of 2011 53-man roster occupant, Alex Albright, and Kyle Wilber being pushed to the bubble being either cut or placed onto the practice squad which will likely have them plucked from the Cowboys youth movement just as quickly as if Hamilton himself landed there.

Nonetheless a linebacker from last year’s team will not be on the team this year unless of course like last season when the Cowboys elected to keep ten offensive linemen on the roster due to the youth and inexperience across the line. The Cowboys could elect to go that route this year but instead at the linebacker position. A move like this could be executed in order to hold on to some of the youth that has been injected onto the roster during this offseason.

With Seven outside linebackers vying for four 53-man roster spots and one possible practice squad position how would you the fans like to see it all shake out?