Dallas Cowboys could use D.J. Chark in tepid offense


Wide receiver D.J. Chark could spark a Dallas Cowboys offense that is lacking in speed at the wide receiver position heading into 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys could go in any direction in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Mock drafts speculate on wide receivers, offensive tackles, defensive tackles, cornerbacks and safeties as being a primary target once America’s Team goes on the clock on Thursday, April 26 in Arlington, Texas.

But that first position listed is the one that intrigues me the most. There’s certainly a possibility that one of the best players at a given position fall to the Dallas Cowboys at the 19th overall selection. With so many quarterbacks and at least one running back slated to jump off the board early, there’s little doubt that the Cowboys will find some tempting value to be had with their first selection.

At a time when receivers like Dez Bryant and Brice Butler are anything but a lock to play in Dallas in 2018, there’s good reason to speculate on this position being addressed early on in the draft. It’s a safe bet that the Cowboys aren’t going to make any big splashes in free agency at any position, so when might Dallas pounce on a long-term target for still-young quarterback Dak Prescott?

I don’t expect that wait to be very long – but not necessarily in the first round.

D.J. Chark could be a fantastic solution after round one.

Yes, if Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton fall to the 19th selection, the Dallas Cowboys could pounce. Having said that, it’s not likely that both of those players fall to the Cowboys – and who’s to say that Dallas has the same interest in Sutton that I do?

While Sutton brings great height to the position, Ridley brings sudden quickness and polished route running.

If you blended those two players together, you would probably have a player much like Chark.

The writers at DallasCowboys.com have done a nice scouting report on D.J. Chark that clearly makes the case for this former L.S.U. Tiger to line up with a blue star on his helmet in the future. Receivers like James Washington and Christian Kirk would also fit the equation, but after the first round I think that Chark makes a ton of sense and for several reasons.

If we’re talking about the Dallas Cowboys roster right now, Chark brings better height than Terrance Williams and Noah Brown possess – I’m not expecting Butler to be back, so let’s assume that he’s gone. Standing at 6’4” and weighing in at around 195 pounds, Chark can win jump balls against smaller cornerbacks with ease. This happens to fit Prescott’s passing style as he continues to master the exotic coverages coming his way in the NFL.

But there’s an added bonus here: speed.

Chark can separate from defenders at the line of scrimmage and do worlds of damage when exploiting zone coverage. His average reception of 21.9 yards as a senior in 2017 is no mistake, and with better quarterback play at L.S.U. over his time in Baton Rouge that number might be closer to 25 yards or better. Certainly his number of catches might seem a tad low, but again I would point to the guys throwing him the ball.

If the Dallas Cowboys can land a healthy combination of speed and height in the middle portion of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium then they should absolutely do it. Even if Chark doesn’t project as a future No. 1 receiver, he could still be a force in a Dallas offense that isn’t exactly hurting for playmakers.

But what if Bryant is gone after 2018 or before?

Speed is one of those few intangibles that translate well into the NFL and Chark has plenty of it. If he’s anything like a poor man’s Randy Moss, there’s a place for him in a Dallas Cowboys passing attack that’s not exactly scary at the moment – speed kills and it also opens up other areas.

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There’s a lot of talk about making the Dallas Cowboys offense as ‘Dak friendly’ as possible. Along with a younger tight end than Jason Witten, a tall, fast target like D.J. Chark could definitely be part of that formula. If the 2018 Senior Bowl was any indication, this is a player to watch closely starting on Day 2 of the draft.