The Dallas Cowboys saw a pair of fridge players stand out on Saturday night against the Chargers. While it’s always good news when good camp players step up and play great in games, it presents challenges from a roster building perspective.
Israel Mukuamu (SAF) and Trysten Hill (DT) have both been consistent training camp standouts for the Dallas Cowboys. Izzy, the second year safety out of South Carolina, and Trysten Hill, the fourth year almost-bust from UCF offered up highlight plays early and often in LA pushing them from maybe guys, to probably guys.
But these moves come at a cost, and every new guy that makes the 53-man roster means a new guy falls off the 53-man roster.
We look at the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster and discuss who loses if Israel Mukuamu and Trysten Hill win roster spots
Unlike the salary cap, the roster is a zero sum game (Although Stephen Jones desperately wants to convince the masses they both are). For every winner, there is a loser, and the impact can spread to multiple position groups.
Dallas Cowboys Safety Position
The way the safety group looks right now, the Cowboys appear to be keeping five. Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse are starters. Donovan Wilson is next man up with the UDFA Marquese Bell locking in the fourth spot as Jayron Kearse’s injury replacement.
The fifth roster spot wasn’t just a question of “if” but also “who.” Tyler Coyle is a special teams weapon who the coaches like. He’s a Jeff Heath clone who has a pretty impressive set of skills and versatility.
Izzy and Coyle have been locked up in a good competition this camp, but it’s clear Izzy has pulled ahead and as it stands now, has a roster spot within his grasp. The consequences of such a move means Coyle is almost certainly out and the Cowboys cannot afford to go long at LB or CB.
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Position
The Cowboys locks at DT are Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwa. Quinton Bohanna has been a standout and Chauncey Golston (who is more DT than DE) is a pretty sure thing. That probably only leaves one roster spot at DT.
If Hill makes the team, he likely bumps John Ridgeway and Carlos Watkins. Keep in mind, the Cowboys already have DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams, and either Tarell Basham or Dante Fowler at DE.
The Cowboys want to keep their numbers in the 9-10 range on the defensive line and can’t afford to go any longer or will have to steal from other position groups. Hill’s well worth it if he’s playing up to his top level because he can be a stout penetrator, similar to Gallimore.
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Israel Mukuamu and Trysten Hill forcing their way onto the roster is a good problem to have. Hill has special traits that can’t be taught. Even if he’s in the last year of his rookie deal, he provides a good young weapon for the Dallas D to use this year.
Mukuamu has traits and versatility you can’t teach and should be a solid do-it-all weapon for Dallas in the box, in man coverage against the slot and/or TE, or even outside like he was used at South Carolina. Both players make this defense better but both will also bump other players off the roster.
Do you think they are both locks to make it, or are we getting ahead of ourselves and need to wait until the preseason concludes?