With 90 players on an NFL roster during training camp, it is very easy to overlook certain players. While reporters and writers at training camp try to report on as many players as possible, they often become stuck on the players they write about. Star players, great practices, poor practices, injuries, rookie draft picks, bubble players, and position battles dominate the headlines. Since I am not in California, I try to keep up with what is going on at training camp by reading all the articles I can get my hands on. In this article, we will focus on a forgotten man in the receiver corps. Because of the star power at top and youth at the bottom, there is one player who I have not heard much about in training camp: Dwayne Harris.
Between the constant dominance of the Cowboys emerging superstar wideout Dez Bryant, the injury concerns of receiver Miles Austin, the development of rookie third round pick wideout Terrance Williams, last year’s long shot receiver Cole Beasley, last year’s fifth round pick wideout Danny Coale injury concerns, speedster receiver Anthony Armstrong, and this year’s current UDFA wideouts Eric Rodgers and Jared Green (both of whom have a legit chance at making the roster), it is very easy to forget third year receiver/punt returner Dwayne Harris.
The only time I have heard Harris’s name in training camp is in statements about Terrance Williams’s potential to supplant him in the depth chart (and the whole chasing animals to lose weight thing). The focus has not been on what Harris is doing on the field. I have not heard about a good practice, bad practice, a good catch, a bad drop, or anything in between. If I did not follow the Cowboys, as closely as I do I may not know he is in camp.
Harris’ absence in the media shows that he has not done anything to “WOW” people, but also has not backtracked in his development. This means he is performing as expected and, for Harris, that consists of consistent hands and good route running. No dazzling plays, no head-scratchers and I’m okay with that. Why?
Harris can play. He showed that in his rookie campaign when he had 5 catches, 127 yards and 2 touchdowns in the preseason opener against the Denver Broncos. Although he did not record a catch in a regular season game until Week Eleven of his second season, he did go on to catch a pass in each of the last seven games for a total of 17 receptions for 222 yards and 1 receiving TD. Not eye popping numbers, but as a sixth or seventh receiving option, having a reception in seven straight games shows that QB Tony Romo was beginning to trust him late last year.
But Harris’ value is not solely wrapped up in his ability as a pass catcher. He was second in the league for punt return average last year with 16.1 yards per return and one TD (does anyone remember that punt return for a touchdown? The one that broke the tie against the Eagles and completely shifted the momentum?) Harris is a very valuable player to the Cowboys. He is not a great wide receiver just yet, but he is a play maker. When he gets the ball in his hands, he can make people miss and turn a short gain into a big one.
Harris may not get any headlines in training camp because of the depth and intrigue of other players at the position, but once we see him play live football against other teams, Harris will be back on the minds of Cowboy fans everywhere. He may have been forgotten in the first two weeks of camp, but if this article does not cause you to remember him, his play in the preseason and regular season surely will.
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