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Cowboys OTA Preview - Top 5 Position Battles, Defense

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys are ready to let their rookies and their veterans mix and mingle as the initial team OTA session is on for Tuesday and Wednesday here inside The Star.

Position battles? Something like that, as we take a look at five such competitions, all on the defensive side here ...

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Let's create an unofficial depth chart, featuring the guys who I think either deserve mention for whatever reason or, more important, who truly have a chance of sticking by the time we get to September ... Our depth chart for the offense is here. And for defense  and those battles ...

1) WHO'S TANK'S BUDDY?

DeMarcus Lawrence is set. Then comes a crowd at end. Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong (a "best-kept secret'' here) and Sam Williams and Chauncey Golston and Tarell Basham, and yeah, a bunch of guys getting a few sacks each is nice. 

I mean, how many pass-rushers does it take to replace the departed Randy Gregory? (Trade for the "Black Cobra,'' maybe?) All five of the mentioned ends get a crack at it.

But beyond Micah Parsons doing so: Could a full-time end do so in a way that takes pressure off Tank?

2) OSA VS. THE WORLD

From everything I've been told from inside The Star, Osa Odighizuwa - already a mature person and good player as a rookie - is remaking himself. There are other tackles here - Neville Gallimore, Carlos Watkins, Trysten Hill, Quinton, Bohanna, John Ridgeway - but they all might need to make way for Osa.

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Of all of these guys, Tank is the only defined-role sure thing. Otherwise? Take Watkins: He could in theory start at tackle ... or he could in theory get cut. Oh, and Osa? Everybody inside the building is praising his offseason work.

3) LVE VS. COX

Micah Parsons could use a "Robin.'' Is it Leighton Vander Esch or Jabril Cox? Yes, there is competition elsewhere, featuring Luke Gifford, Devin Harper, Damone Clark (someday) and Aaron Hansford. But Parsons and Company here. Who gets more snaps, Vander Esch or Cox?

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4) WHERE THERE'S WIL(SON) ...

Dallas re-signed Kearse and Hooker at safety, and way down below there is a shot for an undrafted rookie like Markquese Bell of Florida A&M. But in between is Donovan Wilson. Is he a "backup'' or a third rotational safety?

5) CB CONTRAST? 

At cornerback, Trevon Diggs is the top guy. Jourdan Lewis, Nahshon Wright and DaRon Bland are in play. But the real competition is between Kelvin Joseph and Anthony Brown.

Brown does everything, in terms of readiness and want-to, the right way. Joseph ... well, not yet.

In a perfect world, Diggs is joined by Joseph atop the depth chart. But I will acknowledge Joseph's world is something short of "perfect'' right now. And in a weird way, the organization almost needs Brown to again win the job. Because what if they give the keys to Joseph, after which time law enforcement or the NFL take away those keys?

Get more: The Cowboys depth chart on offense is here.

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