The one item that I think everyone is looking past in regards to all of the new faces being brought on board via the draft is what it will change when the team reports for training camp in July. There are a lot of players on the team who are going to be fighting for not only time on the field but also for a spot on the final roster. I think training camp and the preseason is going to be a lot more intense this season with so many hungry players fighting to make it on the final roster.
At outside linebacker, assuming Greg Ellis doesn't get cut or traded before training camp, there are several guys who are going to end up fighting it out behind Ware and Spencer. Ellis better get his head on straight and be ready to fight for his playing time and maybe even his job. I think we are better with Ellis in the short term but a lot of the offseason decisions are being made with a long term outlook. Brandon Williams, Victor Butler and Greg Ellis look to be fighting it out for playing time and possibly even roster spots.
At inside linebacker the starters are set, but Bobby Carpenter is at a crossroads in his career with the Cowboys. Jason Williams looks like an athletic freak and you know the coaches are going to give him every opportunity to win the job at linebacker in the nickel package. Bobby better step up and show something to the coaches or he might find himself on the sidelines once again or on another team when the season starts.
At cornerback the Cowboys suddenly have a few options after the draft. Obviously Terrance Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick will be on the team. But now Alan Ball will be fighting for a spot with Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith, although Smith may end up playing safety. It is entirely possible that all three of those guys will make the team but how much action they see in the regular season will be determined by training camp and preseason games.
Wide receiver is set for a big battle even without a top wideout being drafted. Sam Hurd, Miles Austin, and Patrick Crayton are going to be battling for playing time. They'll all make the final roster but how much action they see during the regular season might be determined during training camp and the preseason. Isaiah Stanback is going to have to show something or his time might run out. The Cowboys have patiently waited for him to get healthy and develop the skills needed to play wideout at the NFL level. Manuel Johnson may make Stanback expendable.
It is looking like most of the offensive line is set except for the left guard spot. Kyle Kosier is going to have to fight off Montrae Holland and Robert Brewster to keep his starting spot. Montrae Holland looked pretty good during his limited time last season although anyone would have looked good after the embarrassing display of blocking put on by Cory Proctor during several games.
And maybe we can finally find a safety capable of tackling consistently and actually making plays on the ball. There are a lot of guys who will be vying for the open spot next to Hamlin in the defense. Sensabaugh clearly has the early lead to win the job, but Michael Hamlin, DeAngelo Smith and Pat Watkins are all going to be trying to win the starting job.
Even with the laid back approach that Wade Phillips takes in training camp I believe the desperation many of these guys will be showing will have to increase the overall intensity. Fighting for your NFL life is bound to make a guy more focused and determined to excel at all times. And that includes special teams. A guy on the fringes of the roster is going to do whatever it takes to stay on the team.