Predicting which Dallas Cowboys wideout will win battle for WR3 spot

Dallas Cowboys, Organized Team Activities at the Ford Center at the Star Training Facility (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys, Organized Team Activities at the Ford Center at the Star Training Facility (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys
Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

So, who gets the Dallas Cowboys WR3 spot?

Making up for Cooper’s 68 catches last year won’t be easy, never mind his impact even when he didn’t get a pass thrown his way. No WR3 will be able to replicate his production, but the wideouts can collectively pitch in to do so.

Noah Brown is the most familiar with head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s system. By default, he should get the upper hand to start. His failure to carve out a role so far is not encouraging, but he did enough for the team to sign him to another one-year deal.

Jalen Tolbert seems like the player with the most invested in him of the three. He recently signed his rookie deal and will be only $100k cheaper this year than his two competitors at $934k. He will, however, make over $1 million in each of the following three seasons.

His potential and Cooper-like similarity make him a natural stylistic fit. While the Jaguar enjoyed a very successful college career, there might be some need for development until he is NFL-ready. That could see him sit back a bit until mid-to-late season.

Lastly, James Washington, the real-life cowboy turned Cowboy turned Steeler turned Cowboy. He is the most ready-now player on the roster. Washington will have the highest floor in terms of immediate talent of the three players.

Most of the battling will come during training camp. Brown’s inability to carve out a role and Washington’s high floor means the cowboy will likely start as the Week 1 WR3. That spot won’t be safe, though.

Tolbert is right behind Washington, but needs to adjust to the NFL. How quickly he can make that move will determine how long Washington will have a firm grip on the WR3 spot.

Brown will be on the outside looking in as the least likely to hold the WR3 spot. Unless he takes a significant step up in his play or coaches overlooked him the past couple of years, he could be the WR5.

Despite the loss of Cooper, the Cowboys’ offense remains filled with talent. Only one year ago, the team had supposedly “too much talent.” A missed opportunity with a team like that means you will lose talent, but the group is still notable.

Whoever steps in at WR3 will spend some time as WR2 to start the season, as Gallup makes his way back from a torn ACL. At worst, Dallas will field an above-average offense with the potential to be lethal. The immediate impact of Washington and Tolbert’s development will be critical for the WR3 spot.