Although the position of wide receiver may not be a pressing need for the Dallas Cowboys, they should absolutely draft one or more later this week.
The NFL draft is upon us. And the Dallas Cowboys will soon add a few new names to their roster to kick off the tenure of new head coach Mike McCarthy in Big D. For the past few months, we have gone over needs on the Cowboys’ roster numerous times. And receiver has certainly been mentioned.
That’s mainly due to a perceived need for a slot receiver in Dallas. For several years, the undrafted Cole Beasley filled that role for America’s Team. And, for a time, many considered Beasley to be the best slot receiver in football.
But Beasley left Dallas for greener pastures last offseason, landing a nice payday with the Buffalo Bills signing a four-year, $29 million contract as an unrestricted free agent. In his place, the Cowboys inked former Green Bay Packers wideout Randall Cobb to a one-year deal worth $5 million.
The 29-year old Cobb posted 55 receptions for 828 yards and three touchdowns for Dallas in 2019 including a career-high average of 15.1 yards per catch. With the recent hiring of his former Packer head coach in McCarthy, it was believed Cobb would remain in Dallas. But the Houston Texans made the unrestricted free agent an offer he couldn’t refuse, agreeing to a three-year deal worth a whopping $27 million.
The loss of Cobb leaves the Cowboys with a void to fill at slot receiver, although the team certainly has plenty of in-house options it could turn to. Outside of starters in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both of which could certainly be rotated into the slot, Dallas has several worthy candidates on their depth chart.
Names like Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, Devin Smith, Jon’Vea Johnson, Ventell Bryant, and others should be vying for more meaningful roles in the Cowboys’ offense this summer. There’s even some belief that running back Tony Pollard could play in the slot if needed. But that doesn’t mean the team should ignore the position entirely in this week’s NFL draft.
According to many draft analysts, this year’s wide receiver class has a chance to be historic. And the Cowboys must try to take advantage of that regardless of their roster needs. Here’s what Steve Palazzolo of the football analytics website Pro Football Focus wrote about the narrative that this is the best receiver class since 2014.
"“The wide receiver depth is fantastic. … Overall, the PFF draft board has 17 wide receivers ranked in the top 100, and it’s a great year for teams to double up at the position to mitigate risk and add variable skill sets to their skill position group.”"
The Cowboys re-signed Cooper to a five-year, $100 million deal in March. Gallup was a third-round selection in 2018 and his rookie deal is good through 2021. So there isn’t a pressing need to add another player to an already crowded wide receiver room.
But the talent pool is so deep at the position this year that the Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t allow their current depth chart to stop them from dipping their toes in and splashing on one or more of these talented prospects.
Some of the intriguing receivers I’ll be watching closely in this week’s draft include SMU’s James Proche, Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr., Penn State’s K.J. Hamler, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool, and USC’s Michael Pittman Jr.