Unusual Depth: Tough Dallas Cowboy decisions at Wide Receiver
By Richard Ball
The Dallas Cowboys currently have eleven wide receivers on their training camp roster. That is not unusual at this time of year. The quality of the eleven might be.
Too much of a good thing is not usually a problem. In this case, the Dallas Cowboys have eleven wide receivers on their roster who likely can play in the NFL this year.
Depending on other positions, the Cowboys are likely to carry five or maybe six receivers. Simple math suggests that five or six of the wide receivers will not make the opening day roster.
DallasCowboys.com recently ranked the performance of the position group based on who they think would make the opening day roster. There were not many surprises at the top but a couple notable discussion points after the top three.
As expected, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb were the top three ranked receivers. Cooper is likely in the Cowboys plans for the long haul assuming his contract gets worked out considering his age, experience and production over the first four years of his career.
News from camp suggests that Gallup has made a significant leap from his rookie season. So much that expectations for him are likely in the 70 catch and 850 receiving yard range which would be the first time since 2013 that the Cowboys had two pass catchers with that many catches and receiving yards.
Free agent pickup Randall Cobb, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, rounds out the top three. After a few hiccups with quarterback Dak Prescott were ironed out, Cobb seems to be finding his place in the offense. It has been a delight to hear that first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has picked a few plays from the Packers playbook that accentuate Cobb’s skill set.
From there, the rest of the eight receivers seem to be clustered together. I found it interesting who they had listed last.
Surprisingly, Lance Lenoir Jr., a player who played seven games during the 2018 season was listed as the last receiver. While it is fair to say that Lenoir didn’t do anything from a wide receiver perspective last year, he did earn snaps on the playing field. (Lenoir was released after this article was written.)
This adds credibility to the quality of the group of eleven. So much so that the coaching staff may have some tough decisions to make. It’s no secret that the Cowboys have Super Bowl aspirations in 2019 so they may want to keep experienced players like Tavon Austin and Noah Brown around should any injuries bite the top of the depth chart.
But the team also needs to keep one eye to the future with Cobb and Austin not in the long-term plan. No one would wish for an injury but the Cowboys front office may be quietly hoping for a small tiny insignificant injury to a young depth receiver like Jon’Vea Johnson or Jalen Guyton to give them a chance to stash them on injured reserve.
It is easy to forget that there are four preseason games to play and that the initial ranking could be turned upside down based on the play on the field. Nevertheless, the Cowboys certainly wouldn’t mind determining which of the eleven NFL worthy receivers will wear the star on opening day and which could be packaged for future draft picks or practice squad duty.