Dallas Cowboys bubble defenders ready for 49ers showcase

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Multiple Dallas Cowboys defensive players will seek to improve their roster chances when they invade San Francisco on Saturday.

As it goes with life on the bubble, multiple Dallas Cowboys defenders are seeking to improve their roster chances. Facing the 49ers on Saturday, most of these hungry faces will make their first game day impression on the Cowboys staff.

Below is an in-depth look at who’s safe and bubble battles to watch in San Francisco.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10 or 11)

Roster Locks (6): Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, Antwaun Woods, Demarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Dorance Armstrong

Very Likely (3): Tyrone Crawford, Christian Covington, Taco Charlton

Dallas will carry ten or eleven defensive linemen. Last season they settled on ten. Crawford is a team favorite and not in danger. Covington will be a solid contributor.

Charlton is safe as he’s improving at camp and it hurts financially to cut him. It wouldn’t save a dime in 2019, yet would leave $1.36 million in 2020 dead money.

BUBBLE BATTLES TO WATCH:

Tackle: Daniel Wise (#64) vs himself

Wise is showing Crawford type versatility in camp playing both inside and out. Can the rookie make enough preseason noise to avoid a risky practice squad demotion?

End: Kerry Hyder (#51) vs Joe Jackson (#56) vs Jalen Jelks (#74)

There may only be room to carry one more end. Hyder is a veteran with an 8-sack NFL season in tow. Jackson and Jelks are drafted rookies, albeit later rounds.

Of the four DL above, expect one or maybe two to earn a spot. The Cowboys will gladly reward anyone from this group who looks ready to contribute in 2019.

LINEBACKER (6)

Roster Locks: Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, Joe Thomas

Very Likely: Justin March-Lillard

March-Lillard should already be penciled in as the fifth backer. He logged extensive special teams snaps (190) last season. Coaches also value his position flex.

BUBBLE BATTLE TO WATCH:

Chris Covington (#59) vs Luke Gifford (#57)

This showdown may have to wait. Gifford dislocated his finger on Tuesday and Covington has missed most of camp with a minor injury.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9)

Roster Locks (6): Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath

Very Likely (1): Darian Thompson

Thompson is the likely fourth safety and should return as Woods‘ insurance. He’s the only back-up with respectable range and started 16 games for the Giants in 2017.

BUBBLE BATTLES TO WATCH:

Corner: Mike Jackson, Sr. (#33) vs Donovan Olumba (#32)

Dallas started last season with four corners and five safeties. Better depth talent at corner will add another spot. One of the names above should land the fifth corner.

The rookie Jackson is a valued (fourth round) draft pick. Olumba is a hard worker and favorite of position coach Kris Richard. One must separate in game action to win.

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Safety: Kavon Frazier (#35) vs George Iloka (#20)

Both played extensive special teams snaps (200+) last season. They also share limited range and thrive closer to the line of scrimmage.

Iloka was a respected starting safety until 2018. Frazier has been a worthy, rotational safety for Dallas. Loyalty to Frazier will prevail if Iloka doesn’t make a splash soon.