Bubble watch: Phillip Tanner

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
11:30
PM ET
With the Cowboys set to open practice on Sunday, ESPN Dallas takes a look at players fighting to make the 53-man roster and how they may potentially fit on the roster in 2013.

PODCAST
Morris Claiborne joins Richard Durrett and Landry Locker to discuss his improvement, the Cowboys' transition to the 4-3 defense and who is on the hot seat in Dallas.

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Name: Phillip Tanner

Position: Running back

Contract status: Signed through 2013, restricted free agent

Why he should make it: Behind DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys are inexperienced at running back and not especially big. Rookie Joseph Randle is 198 pounds. Lance Dunbar is a change-of-pace back at 191 pounds. At 217 pounds, Tanner has decent enough size to handle the between-the-tackle runs if necessary. He had a terrific offseason and really ran with more vision and authority than he did in all of 2012. He can also play all of the major special teams units, which is a must for all backup running backs.

Why he should not make it: While he is more experienced than Randle and Dunbar, it's not like he has a ton of experience or carries. He averaged only 2.4 yards a carry last year and caught four passes. If the Cowboys do not feel entirely comfortable with Randle -- who did not see any work in the offseason because of a thumb injury -- and Tanner as every-down backups to Murray, then they could look for a more veteran presence as training camp goes on.

Main competition: Kendial Lawrence.

Chance to make roster: 75%

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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