The Dallas Cowboys will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game of the year. Here are seven fringe players to watch.
The Dallas Cowboys will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night at AT&T Stadium. It will be the preseason finale for both teams and neither side is expected to play their starters.
The final preseason matchup of the year is often referred to as the Roster Bubble Bowl or the Scout’s Game. Why? The starters should have the night off and the contest becomes one last showcase for fringe players to prove they are worthy of a spot on the final-53 man roster.
With that in mind, here are seven of the Cowboys’ fringe players who are undoubtedly looking to have a breakout performance against the Buccaneers.
Jordan Chunn, RB
The roster at running back appears to be set without starter Ezekiel Elliott, who is still in the midst of a contractual holdout. Rookie Tony Pollard, Alfred Morris, and fullback Jamize Olawale appear to be locks to make the final-53. That leaves Chunn, Darius Jackson, and Mike Weber on the outside looking in. A strong performance by Chunn, who can also contribute on special teams, could force Dallas to make room for him.
Cedrick Wilson/Devin Smith, WRs
The battle between Wilson and Smith for the final wide receiver spot on the depth will culminate Thursday night. It’s unclear which one Dallas prefers and a strong performance against the Bucs could tip the scales. I’d personally love to see the Cowboys keep them both.
Jalen Jelks, DE
The defensive end position in Dallas is overflowing with talent this year. And this seventh-rounder out of Oregon has flashed potential, posting a sack in his preseason debut. But it’s a numbers game at the position right now and most projections appear to have Jelks missing the cut. A stellar showing against Tampa Bay could alter that prediction. Plus, it would be nice to see him wearing another jersey number other than the legendary No. 74.
Daniel Wise, DT
The undrafted defensive tackle out of Kansas has played well considering his draft status. But with so much talent along the defensive line, good prospects like Wise who need more time to develop are expected to hit the waiver wire. Fans should hope he goes unclaimed and is added to the Cowboys’ practice squad.
Justin Phillips, LB
An undersized linebacker at 6-foot, 224-pounds, Phillips has been one of the Cowboys’ biggest surprises. The undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma State has been one of the preseason’s top performers racking up 17 total tackles and an interception in three-game appearances. Still, the Cowboys’ linebacker corps is one of the best in the league and near impossible to crack.
Is this the end of the road for Kavon Frazier in Dallas? Possibly. Roster projections seem to be 50/50 on whether the former sixth-rounder will be cut or not. Thursday night’s game might be Frazier’s swan song in Big D … or just confirmation the backup safety and core special teams player belongs on the final roster.