Dallas Cowboys' Pre-Draft Depth Chart

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 22, 2013

October 14, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa (67), quarterback Tony Romo (9) and guard Nate Livings (71) change a play at the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

A lot can and will change between now and Sunday, but let's get a feel for the state of the Dallas Cowboys by drawing up what their depth chart should look like entering the 2013 NFL draft.

Our current projected depth chart has been color-coded. Those in blue are solid contributors who are worthy of the roles they currently play. Those in green could be upgraded upon or are still question marks. And those in red must be either replaced or demoted. There are also three openings in red (at tight end, defensive end and cornerback) and one in green (middle linebacker) which, if filled, would give Dallas a 53-man roster (along with a kicker, a punter and a long snapper).

As you can see, I believe Dallas has every reason to be confident in 18 of its 22 starters, and I think center Phil Costa could pan out just fine if he can stay healthy. However, Doug Free, Will Allen and Mackenzy Bernadeau are weak links. That's why the offensive line and the safety position have to be large points of emphasis in this draft. 

The Cowboys could also use depth at defensive end, tight end, middle linebacker and cornerback. The starters are golden in all four spots, but Kyle Wilber isn't a very experienced option behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, and they'll need to replace departed free agents John Phillips at tight end and Mike Jenkins at corner. 

Linebacker's tricky, because Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims can both play in the middle in a pinch. But with Lee and Carter both injury prone, and Alex Albright and Caleb McSurdy both unproven, they should add one more body there. 

If they do decide to draft another receiver or a back, those newbies will likely replace guys already on the roster. I've indicated above that the backup running back spot could use an upgrade, and doing so would force Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar to fight for a spot. They could also carry six receivers, but Danny Coale's job would be jeopardized if they were to add another in the draft or free agency. 

Finally, I point out that they could use some support for Tyron Smith in the left tackle spot. Jermey Parnell isn't a bad swing tackle, but his role could change depending on what happens with Free on the opposite side. Those two split reps late last season.

Check back after the draft for an updated breakdown.