He’s not the biggest or tallest player on the field. He’s not the fastest either. But he just might be the most consistent. And that’s saying a lot about an 5’8 (some say really 5’5) undrafted wide receiver who competes on a daily basis with two of the brightest young wideouts in the NFL. We are, of course, talking about Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley. But has the third year wideout out of SMU proven himself enough to play alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as a starter in 2014?
In his first two seasons in Dallas, Beasley has more than doubled all of his major statical categories. And that comes with gaining the trust of your quarterback, which in this case is Tony Romo, which in-turn increases your snaps. Last season, Beasley played 246 offensive plays as opposed to his rookie season where he only played 128.
In fact, Pro Football Focus ranked Beasley the second best receiver for the Cowboys last year only behind Bryant. That was mainly due to his amazing 75% reception rate. In 2013, Beasley was thrown the ball 52 times. He ended the year with 39 catches. Many contribute that efficient percentage, which places his fourth highest in the NFL of players who had 30+ receptions, to Beasley’s excellent hands and precise route running.
On Monday, the editor of NFL Spine Zone, Joe Soriano, named Beasley the biggest breakout player for the Cowboys in 2013. Here’s what he had to say about the diminutive receiver:
"“This one was difficult, but I was impressed enough with Cole Beasley that I decided to give the Cowboys slot receiver the nod. He figures to be the team’s No. 4 receiver behind Dez Bryant, deep threat Terrance Williams, and rookie Devin Street, but the third-year pro is probably the most consistent player of the four. He had just 15 receptions for 128 yards as a rookie, but he turned that into 39 catches for 368 and two touchdowns in 2013. Beasley has great hands, is a savvy route-runner, and should be poised for even better things in the future. His production waned a bit as the season wore on, but he’s still a quality receiver.”"
Beasley will definitely see some stiff competition this offseason. Not only will he be playing against veteran wide out and special team’s star Dwayne Harris for that coveted third receiver role, he’ll also be facing some talented newcomers. After two injury-plagued seasons in Arizona, LaRon Byrd was signed in the offseason. Despite the lack of playing time, Byrd has spent the last two seasons sitting and learning at the feet of one of the greatest receivers in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald.
Also challenging Beasley will be the Cowboys fifth round pick from this year’s draft out of Pittsburgh, Devin Street. But Street is projected to be a better outside receiver than a slot receiver and should be more of a back-up if either Bryant or Williams are unable to play.
But there are also two very talented undrafted rookie free agents looking to make Dallas’ final roster as well. Missouri’s L’Damian Washington and Vanderbilt’s Chris Boyd. Both 6’4 youngsters will need to prove their mettle this offseason to even come close to Beasley’s current status. Lastly, there is the practice team veteran, Tim Benford, who will be looking to finally crack the Cowboys final 53 after two straight seasons on the deep pine.
But Beasley’s experience, excellent route running, great hands and the trust he’s built with Romo should trump all comers in 2014. Thus making the somewhat unconventional Beasley a more than ideal choice to become the Cowboys third starting wide receiver come September.
But what do you think? Who do you think will be the Dallas Cowboys third wide receiver in 2014? Place your vote below and feel free to chime in to our community discussion about it in our comments section as well.