3. Where do Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle and Ronald Jones stand on the roster bubble?
Davis burst onto the scene in 2022, flashing potential that made him a fan favorite and a player to watch with Elliott’s departure.
But those fans may forget Davis was only elevated to the roster to fill in for Dowdle, who missed the last 12 games of the season with an ankle injury. He was also on IR for all of 2021.
If Dowdle earns the approval of the Cowboys’ medical staff, he’s Fassel’s more proven quantity — it won’t be a light decision.
Dowdle is just five months older than Davis and was a key cog on 2020’s special teams units. If the Cowboys decide Pollard and Vaughn can handle the load, they may prioritize Dowdle’s special teams prowess over Davis’s ability on the ground.
Davis’s health still likely gives him the edge, especially given he was able to contribute on special teams. He also carried the ball 38 times in 2022 — more than five times Dowdle’s career total of seven carries.
Hunter Luepke also has the ability to take special teams snaps, playing on all four units at North Dakota State. This may make Dowdle further expendable if he can’t prove himself as a runner.
Ronald Jones appears to have the steepest path to the 53-man roster. He hasn’t played special teams since his rookie year in 2018, and doesn’t have a key luxury that both Davis and Dowdle have: experience in McCarthy’s offense. Especially with Luepke gunning for a roster spot, it’ll take a strong showing in Oxnard for Jones to stay with the team in September.