4 Dallas Cowboys players on the roster bubble entering OTAs

These four Cowboys might have a hard time making it to the 53-man roster in 2024.
Dallas Cowboys, Hunter Luepke
Dallas Cowboys, Hunter Luepke / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

OTAs are kicking off on May 21 for the Dallas Cowboys, who will hold practices for three days before taking a six-day break. They return for more work May 29-31 and have minicamps starting June 4.

When the Cowboys take the field, there will be no shortage of storylines to follow, including the ongoing contract drama surrounding Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. While each of those players is vitally important, there's plenty more to follow, including some intriguing roster battles.

Dallas didn't make many moves in free agency but there are still a few returning players who find themselves on the roster bubble.

Here's a look at four players who have their work cut out for them as they fight for their spot on the 53-man roster.

RELATED: Cowboys fans pessimistic Dak Prescott extension is coming before season

4. Jalen Brooks, WR

Dallas Cowboys, Jalen Brooks
Dallas Cowboys, Jalen Brooks / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A seventh-round pick out of South Carolina, Jalen Brooks was able to make the cut as a rookie and appeared in seven games. Brooks wasn't vital to the offense, but he made the most of every opportunity.

Brooks played just 77 snaps on offense and had six passes thrown his way. He caught every one of them, totaling 64 yards. More importantly, four of his six receptions went for first downs.

Heading into 2024, he finds himself battling for the fifth spot at wide receiver with rookie Ryan Flournoy. Each could make it to the 53-man roster if the Cowboys decide to keep six receivers, but that's not a given, meaning Brooks has his work cut out for him.

3. Josh Ball, OL

Dallas Cowboys, Josh Ball
Dallas Cowboys, Josh Ball / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When Dallas selected Josh Ball in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, he seemed to be a steal. Once a starter at Florida State, Ball was suspended in 2018 and went to Marshall after spending a year at Butler Community College.

Unfortunately, the red flag from his suspension, which was for an accusation of dating violence, coupled with the lower competition he faced during his collegiate career, led to his slide into Round 4. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to make good on the promise he once showed while with the Seminoles.

Ball spent his rookie campaign on the IR and then struggled when asked to fill in for Tyron Smith in 2022 after the veteran was hurt in the preseason. He appeared in 13 games that year and was a liability whenever he was called upon.

A move to guard kept him around in 2023 but he never saw any action during the regular season with T.J. Bass surpassing him on the depth chart. He remains behind Bass and both Chuma Edoga and Asim Richards can play guard or tackle, making it appears as though Ball has one foot out the door already.

2. Hunter Luepke, FB

Hunter Luepke, Dallas Cowboys
Hunter Luepke, Dallas Cowboys / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With Tony Pollard serving as the feature back in 2023, the Cowboys needed a power runner in short-yardage situations. Hunter Luepke was never going to provide what Ezekiel Elliott did in the previous season. Still, the 238-pound fullback had a strong showing in the preseason, allowing him to earn a spot on the roster.

He played in every game, and while he was primarily used on special teams, Luepke had 37 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. This year, however, he might be on the outside looking in.

The Cowboys brought Ezekiel Elliott back after he spent a year in New England. They also have Royce Freeman, who had 4.1 yards per attempt in 2023 for the Los Angeles Rams, and Rico Dowdle, a surprise contributor last year.

Throw in Deuce Vaughn and it's hard to see a clear path to the 53 for Luepke.'

RELATED: Slot snaps for Deuce Vaughn could solve two issues for the Cowboys

1. Peyton Hendershot, TE

Peyton Hendershot, Dallas Cowboys
Peyton Hendershot, Dallas Cowboys / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As an undrafted free agent in 2022, Peyton Hendershot made the 53-man roster and appeared in all 17 games. He recorded 103 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions, and added a two-yard rushing touchdown on his lone carry of the season.

In 2023, he missed nine games and was stuck behind Jake Ferguson and rookie Luke Schonmaker when he returned. He had just 38 yards on four receptions, but his 24-yarder in Week 18 was a reminder of the athleticism he provides as a pass-catcher.

Despite his talent, Hendershot could be in danger of being waived during the final cuts. Ferguson remains entrenched as the starter, and Schoonmaker will be given every opportunity to turn it around since he was a premium draft pick. That means Hendershot is fighting with 2023 preseason start John Stephens, Jr., who is returning from a torn ACL, and undrafted rookie Brevyn Spann-Ford.

The tight end position is deep, which means someone with a lot of upside will be available when Dallas decides who to keep.

Randy Gurzi


Arizona State grad