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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2. Running Back

There was speculation before the deadline Dallas would only keep three RBs in their initial roster cuts so when they kept four many people breathed a sigh of relief. Yet despite the full position group, there is risk in the way the Cowboys handled the RB position in 2023.

With Ezekiel Elliott gone, a stable force has been removed. Even though the move was likely overdue, it opened the Cowboys up to risk.

Tony Pollard has yet to exceed 200 carries as a pro so there’s no telling how much of an increase he can take. Rico Dowdle is a well-rounded runner with some dynamism to his game but he’s had somewhat significant injuries every year of his career, even dating back to his college days.

Rookie Deuce Vaughn is abnormally small (to put it mildly) and therefore likely to be on a pitch-count of sorts adapting to the punishment of the NFL. Even when playing it’s difficult to assess how effective he’ll be as a pass-protector or running into heavy boxes. The rookie will likely be situational.  

Finally, there is the undrafted rookie free agent, Hunter Luepke. Luepke is a FB/RB hybrid who impressed in the final preseason game in multiple ways. He showed he can be a short-yardage option, pass-catching target and pass protector. He’s a gamble because it took him until the last game to flash and that was largely against players who won’t be making NFL rosters in 2023.

For a team that’s dedicated to an effective running game, these are a lot of risks packed into the RB position.

Keep an eye on: veteran cuts around the league.