We are only a few months away from training camp, and the Dallas Cowboys have a number of new faces. The addition of only three outside players (James Washington, Ryan Nall and Dante Fowler) is further proof of the team’s desire for homegrown team building.

About 30% of the current 90-man roster is comprised of rookie players. Drafted and undrafted. There is going to be a number of position battles, and even some as starters.

19 Cowboys are unrestricted free agents in 2023, six of which are back on one-year contracts. With the exception of Dalton Schultz, who’s currently slated to play on the franchise tag, no other player listed is due more than $6 million this season.

The next highest-value contracts belong to CB Anthony Brown ($5 million) and Fowler ($3 million), but could easily be gotten out of. Even though it’s not always likely, the Cowboys have plenty of veterans with easy contracts to move off of.

But are there rookies in position to take over?

Someone like kicker Jonathan Garibay won’t have as much in the way of competition. Especially as the best kicker prospect on the team.

Jalen Tolbert and Tyler Smith BOTH will be starters in 2021.

The Dallas Cowboys have a serious lack of experienced depth at receiver behind CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and James Washington. Gallup is going to miss a few games to start the season, and now Tolbert is immediately planted as one of the starters.

Smith is Dallas’ first round draft pick and there is just as big of a lack of depth on the offensive line as at receiver. This is a no brainer.

There are, however, some more complicated spots in need of depth. Spots that we could see new rookie faces occupying on the depth chart.

One of the early defensive favorites is undrafted free agent Markquese Bell. Especially now that he’s getting the opportunity to play at linebacker, one of the depth-depleted areas on the Cowboys. His position versatility and skills, coupled with his size and speed, make him a potentially dangerous box defender.

I.E., similar to how Jayron Kearse is used.

Is it enough to beat out fellow rookies like Devin Harper or Aaron Hansford? Could he potentially even make players like Leighton Vander Esch or Luke Gifford expendable?

Then there’s players like Alec Lindstrom or James Empey. It was a surprise Lindstrom went undrafted, but now gets the opportunity to compete with Tyler Biadasz and Matt Farniok for the starting center spot. Even with Empey as having a higher potential of the two.

Both come in with good playing pedigrees from their respective schools, and given the uncertainty at the position, both should receive serious consideration and an opportunity to take over. If either were to take the spot, they would be the second undrafted rookie rookie to start for the Dallas Cowboys in the last three seasons (Terence Steele).

Then there are rookies like Jake Ferguson and John Ridgeway. High upside players who fill particular needs with their attributes.

Ferguson is likely the TE3 behind Schultz and McKeon. He doesn’t come in as polished of a run blocker that McKeon did, but still quality. What he brings is a player who’s an established receiver who can catch contested passed and make plays after the catch.

Even if he only starts as the primary TE2 in goal line and 12-personnel, he has leg up on the other four. Possibly, even as a potential Schultz suitor.

Ridgeway is a pure nose tackle, a player who will occupy the a-gap. At the moment, he’s behind Carlos Watkins and Quinton Bohanna at the 1-technique. Possibly even 4th if the Cowboys plan to use Neville Gallimore as the starting nose tackle, beside Osa Odighizuwa at the 3-technique.

The good news for Ridgeway is even though there’s competition for playing time, he comes in already as one of the few established run defenders on the defensive line. An area the defense had struggles against in 2021. Now that Brent Urban is in Baltimore, he’s likely to fill that particular role.

We know There Will Be (new) Blood on the Dallas Cowboys. With the amount of quality rookie talent at the moment, it’s easy to expect many to make the roster.

Seeing the lack of depth and security at some spots, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys start more rookies than anyone. It’s one of the league’s youngest rosters. And it’s about to get even younger.

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports