3 gambles the Cowboys are taking with 53-man roster cuts

The Cowboys are rolling the dice at three important positions.
Aug 19, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn (42) escapes a
Aug 19, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn (42) escapes a / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Linebacker

As predictions across Cowboys Nation started to standardize, one thing was becoming evident: The Cowboys were going to be thin at the LB position..

With only three true LBs on the roster, the Cowboys are taking a massive gamble with their second layer of defense. Jabril Cox, a 2021 fourth rounder, got the axe. And only Leighton Vander Esch, Damone Clark and Devin Harper made the cut.

Playing one of the most physical positions in the league, the unit is left dangerously thin.

Whether Micah Parsons is labeled a LB or not isn’t really important. He plays the vast majority of his snaps at EDGE (171 snaps at off-ball LB, compared to 738 on the DL) so classifying him as a LB is a little misleading.

Markquese Bell, on the other hand, appears to be the opposite. When the rookie DeMarvion Overshown fell to injury, it was the safety Bell who took his role in relief. For all intents and purposes, Bell is a LB now.

Including Bell, the Cowboys head into the 2023 season with four LBs. That’s a far cry from their normal number and well below league average (between 5-6).

Working in Dallas’ favor is the system they run on defense. Dan Quinn plays primarily with just two LBs on the field, leaning hard on his safety group to match up with various offensive packages. This keeps the wear and tear off his LBs and allows him to rotate throughout the game.

Keep an eye on: Malik Jefferson is a player the Cowboys like who they could bring back in the near future. The Cowboys are crafty this time of year and LB could be a position they address after Wright and Waletzko are officially moved to IR. Proven veterans were cut all around the league and Dallas could be looking to sign one in the next two weeks.