Wednesday, October 5 2022

By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

IRVINE, Calif. — We were never likely to be shocked by the Cowboys‘ first bout of roster cuts.

After all, these five cuts are the first of the preseason, with two more weeks until the final cut to 53. A week from now, NFL teams will waive five more guys prior to their final exhibition game. 

For the time being, these are the first casualties of the Cowboys’ roster trim: cornerback Kyron Brown, tight end Ian Bunting, wide receiver Ty Fryfogle and defensive lineman Austin Faoliu. Veteran fullback Ryan Nall was placed on injured reserve.

Certainly not surprising. Fryfogle is an undrafted rookie, while Brown, Bunting and Faoliu have predominantly been practice squad players during their time in the league. At the very least, these early cut deadlines may give them a chance to catch on somewhere else.

One of these moves feels a little more noteworthy than the others, though. Nall was a spring signing, a four-year veteran for the Chicago Bears who appeared in 33 regular season games as both a fullback and a core special teamer. The early hunch is that he’d fill a similar role in Dallas, possibly giving offensive coordinator Kellen Moore a dedicated fullback for the first time since 2019. 

Instead, Nall spent much of training camp sidelined by a shoulder injury. The decision to place him on injured reserve prior to final roster cuts means his season is over. Combine that with the team’s decision to waive second-year fullback Nick Ralston early on in camp, and we’re back in familiar territory.

How Jerry Jones’ Cowboys became Al Davis’ Raiders end days

The Dallas Cowboys are eyeing a Super Bowl run, their first since the Troy Aikman-Michael Irvin-Emmitt Smith era.

The Cowboys have operated without a true fullback for the majority of Mike McCarthy’s tenure, contrary to his reputation during his 13-year stint in Green Bay. Assuming they don’t find one during the next two weeks, it’s a good guess they roll into 2022 with Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and one of their trio of young backs — Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis or Aaron Shampklin

That’s exactly what they did last year, although it came with one interesting caveat. Without a fullback on the roster last year, Moore turned toward Connor McGovern as his “Hulk” fullback in certain personnel packages. As funny as it looked to see a 308-pound fullback in the lineup, McGovern was actually pretty effective. He not only moves well enough in space to block on the run, but he added an impressive amount of bulk in short yardage situations. 

There’s a lot of training camp left, but don’t be surprised to see McGovern reprise his role this season. The Cowboys are playing it coy, but it’s a solid bet first-round rookie will win the starting left guard spot. If that’s the case, McGovern can add his fullback versatility to his repertoire as a utility offensive lineman.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports, providing insight and analysis on the NFL’s most visible franchise. Prior to joining FOX, David spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website, DallasCowboys.com. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.


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