What if I told you there was a bonafide, number one wide receiver in the upcoming draft and Dallas was interested. What would be the highest draft pick you would use on said receiver? Would you even want the team to draft another receiver after using a third round selection on Terrence Williams in 2013, along with drafting tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round?
Let’s continue with this hypothetical question. What if this player was Dez Bryant-like and possessed very similar ball traits, aggressiveness and physicality? What would be your argument against using the selection on a wide receiver? The first “reason” why you may decide against drafting a wide receiver early is because of need at every defensive position. The Cowboys were the worst defense in the league and may be losing former star players DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer. They have much more pressing needs than receiver, right?
The next argument may be that they don’t need another number one receiver because they just spent a high pick on Terrence Williams. It’s the classic debate of best player available versus need.
Let’s debunk the second “reason” first (I put parenthesis around the word reason because it’s actually more of an excuse). The Cowboys want and need their number two receiver to essentially be a second number one. Look at the recent trend of transactions, draft picks (or almost use of draft picks) to demonstrate this.
2008: Number 1 WR: Terrell Owens
Move: Trade a 1st, 3rd and 7th Round Pick for Roy Williams
At the time, Roy Williams was thought of as a bonafide number one option in Detroit and the thought of pairing him with Owens seemed like a fantastic idea.
2010: Number 1 WR: Miles Austin
Move: Select Dez Bryant 24th Overall in NFL Draft
The Cowboys just paid Miles Austin very handsomely and made him a top five paid wide receiver in the league and also were still implementing Roy Williams into the offense. The Cowboys moved up a few spots to secure Dez Bryant in the attempt to load up at receiver.
2012: Number 1 WR: Dez Bryant
Move: Cowboys Put a Claim in on Josh Gordon (2nd or 3rd Round)
Disclaimer: We aren’t totally sure what round the Cowboys put their claim on for Gordon, but most Dallas Cowboys beat writers assume it was no later than the 2nd round. The team had a second round grade on the receiver.
2013: Number 1 WR: Dez Bryant
Move: Cowboys had 1st Round Grades on 2 WRs, would have taken either if available at #31.
Both Tavon Austin and Cordarralle Patterson had very high grades from the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys explored moving up a few spots for Austin and were stunned when Patterson came off the board right before their pick at #31. Another receiver they liked a lot, DeAndre Hopkins came off the board at #24.
As you can see, some of these moves worked, others didn’t. But under Jason Garrett, the idea of having two dominant wide receivers is a priority. There is also a secondary reason why I bring this draft question up. This receiver class is loaded. We could see as many as 12 receivers in the first two rounds of the draft, many of which Dallas may have interest in.
While TV critics and talking heads might be killing the Cowboys for drafting a receiver high on draft day, just remember, many were doing the same when they took Dez Bryant in 2010. Take the best player, regardless of position. That is what the best teams do. Dallas will continue to be mediocre if they reach at a position because of need.