Dez Who? Dallas Cowboys Wide Receivers Ramp It Up At Mini-Camp

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May 27, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver A.J. Jenkins (16) runs a drill after making a catch during OTAs at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Harwell

Off the field problems saw Nick Harwell leave Miami (OH) to spend his final college year at Kansas. He’s an instinctive player who runs a good route but he doesn’t have the athleticism required to be that true top tier receiver.

To make the roster he’ll need to stand out on special teams. The Cowboys are giving him the opportunity to do that, with Harwell returning kicks the last couple of days.

A.J. Jenkins

A.J. Jenkins will be hoping it’s third team lucky with the Cowboys. Drafted in the first round by San Francisco 49ers in 2012 he spent a year with them before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 and subsequently the Cowboys last month.

Looking at his statistics it’s hard to believe he was ever drafted so highly. Over three years he’s played 28 games, targeted 33 times with 17 catches. He runs exceptionally clean routes but Bryan Broaddus noted that he “hasn’t looked like a veteran” in practice so far. While the rookies have a ceiling to aim for, it’s hard see Jenkins impressing enough for more than a practice squad spot right now.

Lucky Whitehead

Confidence isn’t lacking for Lucky Whitehead. After being asked whether getting the number 13 jersey worries him, he responded with:

"“Not worried about it. I’m going to break the trend.”"

The Florida Atlantic graduate is another competing to fill the Dwayne Harris role. Whitehead returned kicks at college and considers it a specialty.

"“I’m pretty nice at returning. That’s one of my specialties, so I figured I could come here with an opportunity to earn that spot.”"

Whitehead’s return average nearly mirrors that of Harris for 2014. Harris averaged 24.7 yards per return, while Whitehead averaged 24.6. His diversity could be the winning ingredients for that final wide receiver berth. And he certainly appears to be taking everything in his stride.

As a receiver he’s in a similar mold to Cole Beasley with that diminutive size but great ability to get free from in the slot. But it was Dez Bryant whom Bryan Broaddus compared Whitehead to during the Cowboys live OTA coverage. Broaddus was impressed with Whitehead’s determination fighting for yards and his clean finishing of routes and plays. And when asked which receiver he felt would replace Harris? Lucky, of course.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: So What If Dez Bryant Holds Out?