Cowboys 2022 53-man roster projection heading into training camp

Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leads his team onto the field before the NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leads his team onto the field before the NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Training camp for the Dallas Cowboys is quickly approaching and the coaches and players are getting in their last bit of free time before the grind of the NFL season is upon them. Right now, the state of this roster is still up in the air, but through practice reports, you can see the roster is starting to take shape.

But, it really doesn’t matter what happened then. Now, what matters is how every single player performs in camp and in preseason games. Everyone has to earn their spot and make an impression on the coaches and front office.

Until then, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to predict how this roster will eventually look. I made a very early 53-man roster projection right after the draft but wanted to do another one heading into camp. So, let’s do just that and make another early prediction about what I believe this roster will look like to start the 2022 season.

Predicting the Cowboys’ 53-man roster and depth chart ahead of training camp

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Cowboys Offensive Depth Chart (25 players)


Starter: Dak Prescott

Backup: Cooper Rush

Third String: TBD (via signing or trade)

Nothing will change for this team in terms of their starting QB. After his victory last season, Cooper Rush is also safe as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback barring an injury. After the reports of how bad Will Grier has looked in team practices, I’m not sure if he will be on this Cowboys roster once the season begins. He’ll need to have a strong camp and preseason if he wants to give the Cowboys a reason to keep a third quarterback. Until then, I have them rolling with Prescott and Rush and picking up a third quarterback down the line after roster cuts or via a trade.

Running Back:

Starters: Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

Backup: Rico Dowdle

I continue to believe that the Cowboys will be using Elliott and Pollard both as the starter this season because I feel this team will finally realize that there are games where starting Pollard over Elliott makes more sense based on the matchup. There are also reports that the team will be using Pollard in the slot with Elliott on the field at the same time.

Rico Dowdle at one point seemed like a favorite to be the backup, but after undergoing a knee scope, he’s opened the door for JaQuan Hardy and Aaron Shampklin to show what they can do and possibly unseat him at the position he was once favored to win. I believe Dowdle’s experience in the offense will help him in the end and ultimately allow him to win the backup role.


Ryan Nall
Last season, Dallas had high hopes for Olonilua before he went down with a neck injury, but his time came to an end as it seems like the Cowboys weren’t comfortable with Olonilua’s recovery. This release has opened an opportunity for Nall who while not playing a lot of offensive snaps has the most experience at fullback on the current roster. Unless they bring in another fullback, it’s going to be hard to envision him losing this roster spot.

Wide Receivers:

Starters: CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, James Washington

Backups: Jalen Tolbert, Simi Fehoko, Noah Brown

The last time we looked at this group I had Brown losing his roster spot to T.J. Vasher (the second-year receiver who we are hoping takes the next step in his development). Unfortunately for Vasher, you need to know the playbook in order to secure a roster spot in the NFL, and from the rumblings out of the Cowboys practices, he’s not doing well in that department.

I really want Vasher to make this roster but he will need to beat out Brown in order to do so. With Brown dealing with a minor injury, OTAs were his chance to show what he can do with Brown on the sidelines.

Tight End:

Starter: Dalton Schultz

TE2: Jake Ferguson

Backup: Sean McKeon

I still have Ferguson beating McKeon for the second tight end spot thanks to his ability in run blocking. He might just be a better blocker than Schultz but the Cowboys aren’t taking one of Prescott’s favorite targets off the field unless absolutely necessary.  If McKeon surprises people in training camp with this blocking ability then there’s a chance he can take the spot I believe will go to Ferguson.

Offensive Line:

Starters: Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, Terence Steele. 

Backups: Matt Farniok, Connor McGovern, Matt Waletzko, Josh Ball

As I said before, this team has made a concerted effort to beef up their offensive line. Outside of Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, this is a young offensive line that could possibly develop into another solid unit in time. With the number of picks used on all of these players, I still believe that the Cowboys will stash them on the roster so they don’t give teams an opening to get them before they can be put on the practice squad.