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'Swingers': Cowboys OTA Preview - Top 5 Position Battles, Offense

From inside The Star, we take a look at five OTA competitions, all on the offensive side of the ball ...

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 offensive side of the ball ...

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Cowboys - Jalen Tolbert

QB: WHO'S NO. 3?

It's Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. (Who some thing could be a starter elsewhere via trade.)

And then it's Will Grier vs. Ben DiNucci.

Should Grier and DiNucci be on this list? Yes, because it's a depth chart of sorts. But I'm told the Cowboys are increasingly unimpressed with their prospects. This ought to be a two-quarterback roster. ... and I wonder if rookie camp arm Nick Starkel, the Texas native who was with Texas A&M Aggies and then Arkansas and then San Jose State, might get one more sniff.


LT: Tyron Smith, Josh Ball

LG Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern

C Tyler Biadasz, Matt Farniok, Alec Lindstrom, James Empey

RG: Zack Martin

RT: Terence Steele, Matt Waletzko

Tyler Smith is the someday left tackle. But he needs to win the left guard job, and quickly. There is some competition there. There might be four guys competing at center. But my focus here is at swing tackle, where Dallas is done with the idea of the one-year vet contract ... and is going to get one of the kids - Ball or Waletzko - try to win the job.


Fun! But neither of them has ever accomplished anything as a pro. So, fun. And risky.

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Dalton Schultz might have himself a new tag-team partner in Jake Ferguson. (See "Make Moose Proud.'') Remember when Schultz and Blake Jarwin were going to be a two-headed monster, and then, in 2021, Schultz was the single head?

Don't concern yourself too much with Sean McKeon and Jeremy Sprinkle. Rather, view this "competition'' as a philosophical one: The Cowboys have already pretty much announced (via owner Jerry Jones' draft-day phone call to Ferguson) that the rookie is going to get on the field.

Will it be as Schultz' backup? Or as his 12 personnel pal?


Oh, I know some want to make this about "Ezekiel Elliott vs. Tony Pollard.'' But here inside The Star? It's another "philosophical'' issue, another personnel issue. How can both of them - both of them - best be utilized?

The "competition'' is isn't about the players; it's about coaches Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore figuring out the science of their roles.

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Kellen Moore, Jalen Tolbert


Sources have suggested to that Dallas might not be done here, in terms of examining the idea of signing another vet. (No, not "Deebo in Dallas.'') But as it stands now? It's CeeDee Lamb and then two guys, rookie Jalen Tolbert and young vet newcomer James Washington, formerly of the Steelers, competing for the next slot in the pecking order. 

So, it's Lamb, Tolbert (see "He's Awesome!'') and Washington, rehabbing Michael Gallup, and then another level of guys that includes Noah Brown and Simi Fehoko and others. Competition? Sure. But Dallas - which will work this week and followed by OTAs on June 1-2, June 6-7 and June 9-10 - don't need to worry about the fifth receiver as much as the second.

Dallas will hold the mandatory minicamp June 14 through June 16, with training camp starting in late July in Oxnard, when the competition for jobs revs up once more.

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