Dallas Cowboys: What can Deonte Thompson bring to the offense?
With an extremely crowded wide receiver room, how does newcomer 29-year old Deonte Thompson fit into the Dallas Cowboys 2018 plans?
Wide receiver will clearly be one of the most competitive position battles for the Dallas Cowboys when they open training camp next month. With only three receivers returning from the roster in 2017, there will be lots of new faces lining up at wideout for the Cowboys this season.
One of the more interesting receiving options the Cowboys brought in this offseason was Deonte Thompson.
On March 22, the Cowboys signed Thompson to a one year, $2.5 million dollar contract. At the time, Dez Bryant was still on the Cowboys roster, and it seemed like Thompson was brought in to fill the role of the fifth wide receiver, created by the departure of Brice Butler.
Fast forward to today, and Dez Bryant is not a Dallas Cowboys, and the plans for Thompson seem to be much larger than just being a wide receiver five.
Thompson is 29-years old and measures in at 6’0, 205lbs. In his seven year NFL career, the veteran wideout has played for three teams, and has had mixed results. His most productive season was last year in 2017, when he split time between the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills.
In Chicago, in five games he caught 11 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. After being waved on October 11, and signed by the Buffalo Bills, Thompson saw a boost in production. He caught 27 passes for the Bills, totaling 430 receiving yards, one touchdown, and averaging 15.9 yards per catch.
Now looking at those numbers you would not be blown away, but Thompson’s biggest strength does not show up on the stat sheet. The 29-year old possess absolutely blazing, game-changing speed. He ran a 4.36 40 yard dash, and is one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL today.
Pro Football Focus did a study rating wide receivers on their deep targets in 2017, and Thompson finished fifth in the entire NFL, with a score of 124.3.
Two of the receivers on that list are clear cut number ones for their teams, Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill, and Ted Ginn Jr. and Paul Richardson have turned into solid wide receivers over their careers when given chances to produce.
For Dallas, Thompson will bring an elite speed element to the team that they have not had in years. As was shown from his transition from Chicago to Buffalo, the more snaps Thompson got, the more productive he was.
When he is on the field, Thompson will always attract attention to take the top off the defense as a deep threat, something the Cowboys have lacked since 2014. Having a deep threat on the outside will only help the Cowboys underneath passing game, and open up opportunities for single coverage for Cole Beasley and others in the slot.
It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys plan to utilize Thompson, and how the play to incorporate his speed into the offense. A package consisting of newcomer Tavon Austin and Thompson on the field at the same time would be an extremely rare combination of speed on the field, but may take creativity that we just have not seen in the Cowboys offense over the past few years.
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However possible, the Dallas Cowboys need to find ways to utilize Deonte Thompson’s speed somehow in their offense. It is unfamiliar territory for Dallas to have someone with this kind of game changing speed on the offensive side of the ball, and will be interesting to see how the Cowboys go about using it.