Bubble Watch for Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys will start training camp soon, but not every player will leave Oxnard, Calif. with the star still on their helmet. There will be several rounds of cuts throughout camp and the preseason. Certain players are already on the bubble.
Due to early-round draft picks or changing schemes, some Cowboys are already fighting an uphill battle to keep their roster spot. Here are the five Dallas players who are on the bubble heading into training camp.
In two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, offensive lineman David Arkin has never played a down in the regular season. He's been on the team's roster bubble for some time now, and this offseason might be his last with Big D.
The Cowboys are far from having a stout offensive line, but Arkin offers Dallas little in terms of fixing this problem. If the 2011 fourth-round selection hasn't seen the field yet, that can't be a good sign regarding what the team thinks he can do.
Over the past two seasons, the Dallas line has allowed quarterback Tony Romo to be sacked a combined 72 times. He was sacked 36 times in both 2011 and last year, both single-season career highs for Romo.
If Arkin hasn't been given time to prove himself in two seasons filled with lackluster play on the line, coach Jason Garrett and company must not think much of him.
The Missouri State product will have to fight for his roster spot once again this training camp and preseason.
Eric Frampton performed well enough for the Cowboys last season to be re-signed, but that deal might not last long.
The veteran safety has to partake in arguably the biggest training camp battle of 2013. Returning from injuries are Barry Church and 2012 draft pick Matt Johnson. Danny McCray and fellow veteran Will Allen will also be competing for rosters spots at the safety position.
Allen signed a two-year deal with Dallas this offseason and Monte Kiffin publicly supported the signing to Tom Osborn of The San Antonio News-Express, saying, "He’s a veteran guy who has been around and knows this [4-3] system. But he’s not here just because he knows this system. He can play."
Johnson was drafted just a year ago, and Church earned a new contract not even 12 months ago. Frampton might have been brought back for training camp, but it's hard to see him with Dallas past August.
The former Detroit Lion will have to hope he can best McCray for a roster spot. Both players are known for their special teams play, as well as playing safety.
Frampton's best chance to make the roster is to beat out McCray. He'll need to prove himself to be the more valuable safety of the two in training camp and throughout the preseason.
Cole Beasley's issue is simply the fact there are too many wide receivers fighting for a spot on the Dallas roster.
Obviously Dez Bryant and Miles Austin own the No. 1 and No. 2 receiving spots, respectively. Also on the roster are Dwayne Harris, 2013 third-round pick Terrance Williams and 2012 fifth-rounder Danny Coale.
Beasley did tally 128 yards on 15 receptions in his rookie year last season, but he has arguably the steepest mountain to climb of everyone on this list.
Harris had some clutch catches and kick returns for the Cowboys last year, Williams was drafted to contend for the No. 3 receiver position and Coale is already on the practice squad. Beasley is also the only receiver fighting for a spot who wasn't drafted out of college.
The best-case scenario for Beasley is that he beats out Harris or Coale for the No. 4 or No. 5 wideout job. The worst and more likely scenario is that he's looking for a new team come September.
Danny Coale's place on the wide receiver depth chart is also far from set in stone. Coale is currently on the the Dallas practice squad after an injury-ridden rookie season last year.
The former Virginia Tech player suffered a stress fracture in his first OTA last offseason and then tore his ACL last December. The tear ended his 2012 season and likely left coaches wondering about his ability to stay healthy.
“His biggest thing right now is getting healthy, being available. The key for him is, number one, to get to where he is Danny Coale, that he’s the guy that we like,” receivers coach Derek Dooley told Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News back in May.
Coale will have had several months to heal and rehab from his ACL injury, but he'll be battling receivers who have been 100 percent for some time.
Dwayne Harris made an impression in the kick return game, but he also had 222 yards and one touchdown on 17 receptions last year. Terrance Williams was just drafted, and there's Cole Beasley to worry about.
Coale will not only have to prove he's healthy, but that he's a better option for Dallas than Beasley and others like Anthony Armstrong fighting for spots.
If Dallas decides to keep five receivers on the roster, Coale's biggest competition will likely be Beasely. Both could make the roster if the Cowboys decide on carrying six wideouts. Oherwise, Coale has some work to do to prove his health and worth to the team.
Phillip Tanner has shown some promise when given opportunities in Dallas, but he'll really need to fight to continue those opportunities this training camp.
The Cowboys drafted rookie rusher Joseph Randle in the fifth round. After the draft, Dallas signed former Missouri back Kendial Lawrence. Phillip Tanner has two new teammates to battle for a roster spot with in addition to Lance Dunbar.
Being a fifth-round pick just this year, Randle all but has a roster spot locked down. With starter DeMarco Murray taking another at running back, there's likely only one spot open on that depth chart.
That leaves Tanner, Dunbar and Lawrence to battle it out for the last remaining roster spot in all likelihood.
Tanner recently told Christian Clark of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram he's been working on bettering himself this offseason.
"I worked a lot on my quickness and explosiveness. I lost a little weight and leaned up a little bit. I’m able to see things and hit the hole without hesitating," he told Clark.
Tanner will need that quickness in order to beat out his competition this training camp.