Irving, Texas – Another week in the dead season means it’s time for another in depth look at a Dallas Cowboys position group. With 23 days left before the start of training camp today’s position examination focuses on the Cowboys wide receivers.
The Cowboys return four of their top five receivers from last season; their only departure being Miles Austin whose contract expired at the end of last season.
Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris lead a very talented and very young group into next season. The team signed veteran wide receiver LaRon Byrd in the off season and added Devin Street, L’Damian Washington and Chris Boyd through the draft and undrafted free agency.
Tim Bedford and Jamar Newsome also return from last years practice squad to try and make the 53 man roster.
When it’s all said and done I believe that the Cowboys will keep six receivers on their team. With 10 players on their way to training camp at the position, here is what I think the Depth Chart will look like once the team enters the season in September.
• Dez Bryant.
We already know that Dez Bryant is going to be the Cowboys primary receiver. In years past he has been limited to playing the X position, but this offseason he has been learning both the Z and Y positions which will allow him to line up anywhere on the field at any time.
In addition to learning every receiver position, Bryant has also been analyzing defenses. Breaking them down to better understand how they will be attacking both him and the rest of the team. If everything goes well, Bryant should be looking at another carrier defining season.
• Terrance Williams
Terrance Williams showed last year he was ready for the NFL. His 736 yards and 5 touchdowns rank 2nd and third all-time respectively among cowboys rookies. That’s pretty nice company considering the only people ahead of him on those lists are Bob Hayes and Dez Bryant.
In his second season Williams looks to make even bigger strides as he steps into the starting role opposite Bryant. Reports this offseason have Williams attacking the ball much more, snatching the ball out the air with his hands instead of catching it with his body as he did most of last season.
• Cole Beasley
Scott Linehan has really been working Cole Beasley hard during the team’s organized team activities and the 3rd year player has responded. He has been lined up at both the inside and outside receiver positions which hopefully means we will finally see Beasley in an expanded role.
I think Beasley gets the nod at third on the depth chart because of his experience and incredibly rare quickness. The ability he has to create space in a hurry can really help an offense out al awes Welker. Keeping Dwayne Harris fresh for his role on special teams is also a concern and will probably be a factor in Beasley’s favor unless Harris is clearly better than everyone else.
• Dwayne Harris
The electric punt returner is back again and will fight it out between Cole Beasley, Devin Street and LaRon Byrd for the third and fourth receiver role but Harris has a big leg up over Byrd and Street in his value as he both contributes to special teams and the passing game.
Again the knowledge of the offense will be what makes the difference here. The fact that Harris has been here and has produced will help him maintain his standing with the team.
• Devin Street
It will be a year of learning for the Cowboy’s newest draft selection at the position. As a 5th round draft pick Street comes in with few expectations but intriguing talent.
I think Dallas wants their young players to force them to cut Byrd and Street will be given every opportunity to win this spot. If he does it opens things up for players like Washington or Boyd to make the team as well.
At this stage of the game in making a roster a wide receiver has to be able to contribute on special teams so if street can’t perform and they Cowboys find themselves in need of special teams help it may force Street down the depth chart and force the team to keep Byrd.
• L’Damian Washington
A personal pet cat from the very beginning of the draft process, L’Damian Washington’s continued success through adversity is very inspiring. There is just something about this player that leads me to believe he will be able to make this team.
I don’t think the team keeps a 6th receiver unless its Washington or Boyd and Washington gets a big boost because he is a very experienced special teams player and his speed is truly elite. No one on the current Cowboys roster offers a size speed combination like Washington.
His key to success though will be staying healthy and proving he knows the offense well enough to make plays during training camp. If he doesn’t understand the offense before the pads come on he may be destined for the practice squad.
This depth chart has both a lot of potential mixed in with real experience that’s ready to roll as soon as the pads come on. Most of the players on this roster are capable of playing multiple positions and its possible all six see playing time with Linehan trying to open things up.
The clock keeps ticking down to training camp. With a really young receiving corps the bottom two or three spots on the depth chart are up to a lot of debate, but with nothing to talk about during the slowest three weeks of the football year that is all there really is to do.