There’s a reason the first depth chart of the season is unofficial. Things can change. For the Dallas Cowboys, the closer we get to the season, the clearer things get.

The team is two preseason games, and half a training camp through and things are becoming clear. Some of these younger players are expected to fill in the starting spots eventually, but it might be as soon as week one.

Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal

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The obvious place to start is linebacker. Coming in, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were slated to start off the year with rookie Micah Parsons. In the Dallas Cowboys base nickel defense, one of the linebackers would come off, and there would only be two.

Smith and Vander Esch would get first crack to do veteran seniority, but two new faces could cause a reshuffle.

Parsons and free agent signee Keanu Neal have played like starters, having arguably the best camp of the linebackers. So much so that they’re starting to take notice.

There’s definitely going to be a healthy rotation at the position. When you count the four names mentioned and rookie Jabril Cox, this position should be the least to worry about. Who takes the most snaps, however, is a different question. One that looks like it’s going to be answered soon.

Kelvin Joseph and Maurice Canaday

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In the same breathe as the linebackers is the cornerback spots. Going into the summer, Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown were the outside starters, with Jourdan Lewis inside.

Trevon Diggs has had a great camp and looks like he’s taken that next step in his career. His spot as CB1 is the only that’s been secured. The other two spots, have been highly contested.

Despite good camps from Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis, their starting jobs are seeing some great competition. Brown might be under contract, and Lewis was awarded a new deal in the offseason, but tell this to Maurice Canaday and Kelvin Joseph.

Kelvin Joseph has been the Dallas Cowboys stickiest corner so far, using his speed and athleticism in coverage, a big reason why he was drafted in the second round in April. Even though he was barely mentioned during OTA’s, he’s put his skills on display so far.

Canaday has been the most surprising player in camp by a wide margin. Going from a fringe, bubble player to an essential lock for the team. Not only that, he’s been making plays all camp, lining up behind Lewis and being near unbeatable.

Lewis has played well up to this point, and Brown still has the veteran seniority on his side. It doesn’t look like at this point if they’ll lose their spots, but Canaday and Joseph might be playing too good to not be on the field.

Osa Odighizuwa

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The injury to Neville Gallimore means that someone else will need to fill in for him until he can return from injury. At the moment, Carlos Watkins and Brent Urban sit atop the depth chart, but another rookie is shining.

The third round pick has been a nightmare for offensive lines in both preseason games up to this point. Providing strength and pressure that the team desperately needs from the men up front.

Watkins has had a great camp, and Urban is one of the team’s best run defenders, but there might not be any young player who’s excelling at the rate Odighizuwa is. A rate that would make it idiotic to take him off the field.

When Neville Gallimore comes back, he’ll get his job back but at the rate Odighizuwa is going, the Dallas Cowboys will have to play both of them together.

Dalton Schultz

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Dalton Schultz had a breakout season in 2020 after Blake Jarwin tore his ACL in the first game of the season. He totaled 63 receptions for 615 yards and 4 touchdowns, all numbers that Blake Jarwin has yet to get in a single season.

Schultz was already the superior run blocker and showed last year that with increased volume could be a reliable receiving option.

Jarwin remains the better receiving option with better hands and athleticism, so he likely won’t be supplanted by Schultz completely. The likely event is that the Cowboys use plenty of tight end rotation, as well as 2 tight end formations.

Going into a contract year, expect a heavy dose of Schultz alongside Jarwin. We could be seeing the year where they’re competing against each other to be the TE1 of 2022 and beyond.

Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys, Tyler Biadasz
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Connor McGovern played well last season when he came in. Well enough that Mike McCarthy looks like he’s finding ways to get his young guard on the field.

McGovern started multiple games at all three interior offensive line positions in college, and is the undisputed best non-starting interior lineman… for now.

Connor Williams taking both first and second team snaps at center with Tyler Biadasz tells us a couple things.

  1. The Dallas Cowboys don’t have a definitive backup center.
  2. The team would rather McGovern play guard.
  3. The team is looking for their true five best offensive linemen, and where to play them.
  4. McGovern is though of in the same regard as both Williams and Biadasz.

Connor Williams is going into a contract year, and with the way McGovern has played, he might make Williams expendable, despite getting better each season.

Biadasz played well last season at center, and is without a doubt the best player at the position, especially if Connor Williams can’t learn to properly snap the ball.

Whether it’s this year or next, expect Connor McGovern to be a starter on the line moving forward.