The Dallas Cowboys made all the necessary cuts to bring the active roster down to the league-mandated maximum of 53 players.
Now, Dallas has to weigh its options and determine which 17 players it will bring back to the practice squad. Yes, you read that right. The Cowboys will have 17 players on the practice squad because one player is a member of the NFL’s International Players Pathway Program, and those in the program can be carried on a team’s roster without counting against the total tally.
The standard roster size for an NFL team is 16 players.
One other important thing to note is the practice squad roster will look a lot different before Dallas opens the season on Sept. 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys waived a few players that will surely be brought up to the 53-man roster before Week 1.
This was done to make room on the 53-man roster for James Washington and Tyron Smith, who will start the season on injured reserve. Since the Cowboys expect both players to see action in 2022, they had to list them on the active roster on Tuesday. So expect two players from the practice squad to be elevated to the 53-man roster before the regular season.
Without further ado, here are the players on the Cowboys practice squad:
- Brett Maher is one of the players we can expect to see brought up to the active roster for Week 1. Maher is the only kicker Dallas has right now after beating out Lirim Hajrullahu for the starting spot in training camp.
- Cooper Rush is the other player who is expected to be promoted to the active roster ahead of the Buccaneers game. He won the QB2 battle in training camp and Dak Prescott is the only passer on Dallas’ 53-man roster, and that will surely change before the season starts.
- Malik Davis lost the RB3 competition with Rico Dowdle, but will stay with Dallas on the practice squad. Davis had an impressive preseason, rushing for 132 yards in three games. There was a fear Davis would get signed by another team after being waived, but the undrafted rookie will return to Big D.
- Carlos Watkins started 15 games at defensive tackle for the Cowboys last season, but didn’t make the 53-man roster this season as Dallas’ defensive line is a particularly strong group. Last year, Watkins tallied one sack, 32 total tackles and five tackles for loss.
- Sean McKeon joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and has started three games in the last two seasons. McKeon was thought to be a lock to make the roster as TE3, but rookie Peyton Hendershot had an impressive preseason and beat McKeon for the spot.
- Will Grier lost the competition for QB2 to Rush and was relegated to the practice team. Grier was a third round draft pick in 2019 and spent time on the Cowboys practice squad last season.
- Wide receiver Dontario Drummond had 38 receiving yards in the preseason and proved to be a valuable asset on special teams, which helped him earn a spot on the practice squad.
- Linebacker Malik Jefferson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in round three of the 2018 NFL Draft. Jefferson is from Dallas and played college ball at Texas.
- Offensive tackle Aviante Collins has bounced around the NFL since 2017, and has appeared in five regular season games. Offensive line is a thin position group for Dallas, so don’t be surprised if you see Collins get called up to the active roster if injuries call for it.
- Wide receiver Brandon Smith performed well in preseason, tallying 118 receiving yards and one touchdown. His lone touchdown was a rather acrobatic play:
- Center Alec Lindstrom joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Boston College this offseason. Lindstrom’s father and uncle played in the NFL, and his brother Chris Lindstrom is an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons. No plate of food is safe at Lindstrom family Thanksgiving celebration.
- Safety Tyler Coyle had strong showings in preseason and displayed the ability to play his primary position as well as nickel cornerback and special teams.
- Safety Juanyeh Thomas was also moved to the practice squad. Coyle and Thomas would’ve had better shots at making the 53-man roster in most seasons, but the Cowboys have a strong group of safeties on the active roster.
- Defensive end Mika Tafua had his best preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers where he recorded a sack and pass deflection.
- Running back Qadree Ollison has made the practice squad after spending the last three seasons with the Falcons. Ollison rushed for 158 yards and five touchdowns in that time.
- Offensive lineman Isaac Alarcon is a member of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and can be carried on the practice squad without counting against the player limit.
- Guard Dakoda Shepley rounds out the Cowboys 2022 practice squad (for now). He’s a native of Windsor, Ontario and played with the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 and the Seattle Seahawks last season. He’s appeared in nine career games.