These 6 “On The Bubble” Cowboys Need to Play Well in Final Preseason Game

Ryan Smith, Auburn

Ryan Smith, Auburn

Today the Dallas Cowboys made mandatory cuts to get their roster to 75. After their final preseason game Thursday with Denver, they will be required to reduce the roster again to the final 53 man number.

I’ve identified six players with a legitimate chance to make the final roster but will need good games Thursday. These guys have gotten noticed in preseason but just haven’t closed the deal yet. Can they have the kind of performances that help them avoid final cuts next weekend?

1. CB Tyler Patmon:
Last week against the Dolphins Patmon, the undrafted rookie, had an outstanding game with a forced fumble and two interceptions including a pick 6. However it is the only preseason game that he has played any significant amount. Was that one performance enough to make the roster? I think it likely was but he is in a battle with B.W. Webb for a spot, the way I see it, and a good performance Thursday could give him the edge over Webb for sure.

2. DT Zach Minter:
After becoming a Cowboy for only 5 days, Minter played late in the Ravens game and played quite well pressuring the QB. He forced a fumble and got a sack. Doubters wanted to see him play against the starters which he did in the Dolphins game. And to be honest, Minter kind of disappeared last week so doubts remain. It’s not clear if Dallas will get Josh Brent back or not but with that possible, Minter needs to have another strong game. I don’t think he has clinched a spot yet.

3. Safety Ryan Smith:
Smith got noticed early in OTAs as playing with a confidence not always displayed by undrafted rookies. But in preseason games he hasn’t come up with a big play yet. In the final preseason game, I think he needs to have an interception and perhaps a couple passes defended to make the coaches consider keeping him on the roster. I think they like Smith but in my view, he has not made this roster yet.

4. RB Ryan Williams:
Williams has made the most of his opportunities to run the ball in preseason games. He has 112 yards in preseason play and scored a TD in the Ravens game. It’s not clear how many running backs Dallas will keep but it appears Williams is in a close battle with Randle who I think holds a slight lead because of special teams play. With another strong running performance, Williams can make it very difficult for Dallas to cut him. And if he can make a big play on special teams Thursday, he has a good shot of making the roster.

5.WR Jamar Newsome and 6.WR LaRon Byrd:
Newsome and Byrd have had very strong performances in preseason games but unfortunately for them, Dallas is deep at the wide receiver position. Byrd made a nice diving catch for a score in the Dolphins game as he returned to “the U” where he played in college. Newsome had 2 catches for 29 yards and a TD in the Ravens game. Overall I would say Newsome has been slightly more productive than Byrd through three games.

I can’t see how Dallas is able to keep both of these talented receivers and they may not even be able to keep either one but with a strong performance Thursday, one of them could possibly make the roster. If placed on the Practice Squad, I think both are likely to get picked up by other NFL teams.