The Dallas Cowboys are a few months away from training camp. There, we will see a bunch of new faces looking to make the final 53-man roster.

Even though the Cowboys lost a number of quality veterans this off-season such as Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory, there are still plenty of experience on the team.

Unfortunately for some, the team’s desire to get younger will cost some veteran players their jobs to more athletic rookies. Despite not yet playing a down, 31% of the 90 players in Dallas are rookies, and there may be more than we expect to make the final 53.

There are always surprise cuts and surprise additions to the team, but going into camp, there seem to be more fringe veterans who have an uphill battle to make the team. Specifically, these are the players who’ll have the biggest challenge to make the team.

10) WR Noah Brown

This might be a bit of a shocker as the Dallas Cowboys don’t have great depth at wide receiver. Brown is primarily a special teams player and a rotational receiver who fills the WR4/5 spot on the depth chart. However, surprise cuts happen every year.

The Dallas Cowboys have their starting trio of WRs: CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert. With Gallup to miss the start of the season as he rehabs a torn ACL, the depth gets murkier. James Washington is the obvious choice, one of the three free agent acquisitions, and deep threat who can make plays after the catch.

A lot of it will come down to how many receivers Dallas chooses to keep. In 2021, they kept seven on the roster, and four are now gone. Simi Fehoko will likely need to step up in Year 2 in an expanded role, and has the size- and speed-combination scouts salivate over.

Brown might be the most likely player on this list to make the team, but could also be the prime candidate for surprise cuts. If the young receivers progress into 2022, Brown’s services can be replaced.

9) LB Devante Bond

Devante Bond is anything but a lock to make the team. Despite the lack of secure depth, Bond is a roaming veteran on his third team. He was added to the practice squad before the end of the season and was signed to a futures contract soon after.

During his career, Bond has fought against injury, suspensions and being off and on practice squads with only 39 career tackles to his name. Having not played in a game since 2020.

Behind Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch and Jabril Cox, linebacker is wide open for roster spots. Despite the availability, Bond will have to beat out plenty of young, quality, athletic players standing in his way.

8) DB Nahshon Wright

Nahshon Wright has the size that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn covets in his defensive backs at 6’4″ 210-pounds. He was the surprise draft pick in 2021, taken in the third round, 99th overall. It was seen as a reach pick, and like second round pick Kelvin Joseph, didn’t get much playing time to prove otherwise.

The biggest concern about Wright has been his thin frame and often getting beat in press. He will need to show a more physical, technically sound advance in year two or it will be a numbers casualty in the corner’s room.

Dallas already has a number of players we expect to make the team: Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis and Kelvin Joseph. Throw in rookie DaRon Bland and special teams ace CJ Goodwin, the Cowboys will need to decide if Wright is worth keeping a sixth corner.

7) FB Nick Ralston

The good news for Nick Ralston is the release of Sewo Olonilua, but it was followed with the signing of Ryan Nall. A bigger, faster, more experienced player at a position team’s traditionally only keep one of.

Nall’s contract isn’t so big that the Cowboys can’t get out of it if they need to but it is telling that he’s signed at all. This past off-season, the Dallas Cowboys only signed three outside free agents. Nall being one of them.

FB Nick Ralston has only played four games in his career to this point, exclusively on special teams and only one career offensive snap. Nall has played snaps on both offense as a blocker, runner and receiver. In addition to special teams, he too has played in a short career but is clear upgrade at the position.

Ralston might be destined for the practice squad again, but this battle seems to have a heavy favorite.

6) QB Will Grier

Dak Prescott is the unquestioned franchise QB and leader of the team. Cooper Rush has cemented himself as a viable QB2 after his lone start in 2021 against the Minnesota Vikings. It’s unlikely they keep more than two at the position. Truthfully, Grier is in a battle with Ben DiNucci for what might be one spot on the practice squad.

Surprisingly, DiNucci might have the upper hand in this battle. DiNucci played and started for the Cowboys in this same offensive system for the same coaching staff that drafted him. Neither shows the ability to be consistently accurate with the football but DiNucci has the mobility factor, giving him a small edge. Additionally, Grier hasn’t even taken a snap in a professional game since his time in Carolina in 2019.

If the Cowboys were to only keep one of these QBs, all points favor the 2020 draft pick. Though neither is likely for the final roster.

5) TE Jeremy Sprinkle

Another not-so-obvious name on this list is Jeremy Sprinkle. Injuries to Sean McKeon and Blake Jarwin made Sprinkle more of a necessity, primarily as a special teams player, but also as a blocker on offense as the often TE2/3. With the addition of fourth round draft pick Jake Ferguson, it puts Sprinkle’s future in doubt.

Dalton Schultz is going nowhere for at least a year. Ferguson is the early favorite for the backup tight end position and this coaching staff is still very high on the development of McKeon. Both as a blocker and receiver.

Like Nick Ralston, Sprinkle was an off-and-on practice squad player the Dallas Cowboys called up throughout the season. For Week 1, Sprinkle has a lot of heavy competition ahead of him, and might be destined to return. His experience on the team makes him a valuable failsafe should injuries occur, but not at the start.

4) LB Luke Gifford

Devonte Bond isn’t the only linebacker on this list. Luke Gifford has given the Dallas Cowboys plenty of value as a core special teams player, but little on defense.

Realistically he’s probably fourth on the depth chart behind Parsons, Vander Esch and Cox, but the talent behind him might be too much to expose to waivers.

Rookie Damone Clark probably won’t play in 2022 but will factor into the position moving forward. Still, there are still a lot of talented players at the position. Devin Harper and Aaron Hansford were both official visits, Storey Jackson is a versatile LB who can play all over the box and Markquese Bell, one of the most coveted undrafted free agents in this year’s class is getting looks as well.

Gifford might be expendable.

3) OL Josh Ball

The 2021 fourth round rookie missed his entire first season due to an ankle injury and the Dallas Cowboys are wasting no time re-upping the offensive line after the losses of Connor Williams and La’el Collins.

Seen by many as one of the better tackle prospects in his class, injuries and off-field concerns have marred a short career to this point for Ball. Already he is falling behind.

Tyron Smith will man the left tackle spot for at least another year, while the development of Terence Steele at right tackle has been a point of note for the front office. Draft picks Tyler Smith and Matt Waletzko can also make it hard for Ball to get any consideration.

Tyler Smith is listed as the starting left guard but is listed as a tackle in their official roster, with the belief he’ll be Tyron’s eventual successor. While Ball is a year into his NFL career, he’s had the same amount of game experience as the young rookie Waletzko.

We have to wonder if the injury, development and character issues are catching up with Ball. The organization has stated they won’t sign a free agent swing tackle, but depth and versatility in front of him might be showing Josh Ball the door.

2) DL Trysten Hill

When Trysten Hill was drafted, Jason Garrett was head coach, Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator and Leon Lett was the defensive tackles coach. As Bryan Broaddus of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, TX has pointed out, fringe players need a sponsor. Someone who’s close to the player and was around since the beginning who vouches for them. Hill has none.

Trysten Hill has yet to live up to his second round status, and his career has largely been highlighted by ‘potential’. In reality, he has been questioned in his desire to be great, his work ethic, staying in shape and injuries.

Now, he faces a defensive tackle group filled with names of players who are all more likely to make the team; Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, John Ridgeway, Quinton Bohanna, Carlos Watkins and even Chauncey Golston as the team’s most versatile defensive lineman. Hill’s time in Dallas is ticking.

1) EDGE Tarell Basham

Finally we’ve come to a valuable veteran faced with a numbers game. Tarell Basham is in Dallas primarily because of his ability to play the run and set the edges. The Dallas Cowboys now have that in Golston, who can play both edge roles and split inside to the 3-technique defensive tackle spot.

In fact, it’s a loaded room ahead of Basham: DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, Golston, rookie Sam Williams and the rotating dangerous enigma that is Micah Parsons. Rushing the passer from inside the box, as well as off each edge.

You can never have enough good defensive ends, and Basham still can have a valuable role on this defense. If the Cowboys decide to go heavy at other positions like defensive back or offensive line, the versatility of some of their edge rushers could have Basham on the way out.

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports