ESPN lists Cowboys 2021 UDFA receiver as surprise offseason standout
Heading into the 2022 season, there are a lot of question marks about the Dallas Cowboys‘ WR depth chart. Former WR1 Amari Cooper is with Cleveland and standout WR3/WR4 Cedrick Wilson is now in Miami. That leaves CeeDee Lamb who will be thrust into a WR1 role for the first time in his third year in the league, Michael Gallup who has an unknown return date after ACL surgery, and external addition James Washington who hasn’t had a top-tier season to date as players with decent experience.
Jalen Tolbert is a rookie and sixth-year WR Noah Brown is returning but dealing with a minor injury. With only so much time left and big holes to fill, it’s hard to know who will make the 53-man roster. Right now, there are 12 wide receivers in the locker room, but obviously, many of those names will not make the final list.
One of the top candidates for the WR5 position is 2021 draft pick Simi Fehoko. However, when ESPN’s Cowboys reporter, Todd Archer, was tasked with putting a 53-man roster projection together, Fehoko didn’t make the list.
Instead, it was a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech: T.J. Vasher. Unsurprisingly, a week later, Archer named Vasher the Cowboys’ most surprising offseason standout for the team after watching the young receiver in OTAs and minicamp.
ESPN’s Todd Archer names T.J. Vasher the surprise offseason standout for the Cowboys
Vasher is the nephew of former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Nathan Vasher and was a two-sport athlete in football and basketball for most of his life. After a 1,000-yard senior season in high school, the receiver was ranked as the No. 58 overall college recruit by 247Sports.
From there, Vasher took his talents to Texas Tech where he ended his career in the top 10 for all-time touchdown receptions (21) in school history. He decided to skip his senior season and head to the draft, but ended up going unselected. The Cowboys then signed him as a UDFA.
Unfortunately, the receiver spent the entire year on the reserve with a knee issue, allowing Fehoko to play in five games as a rookie.
With spots to fill and the success of Tolbert and Washington up in the air, Vasher has an excellent opportunity to earn himself a role on this 53-man roster. Although it is not an ideal situation for the Cowboys, it is a great one for the Texas Tech product. Here’s why Archer thinks the former UDFA may get that spot:
"“Signed as an undrafted free agent last year, Vasher did not practice because of a knee injury, but he has used this offseason to get himself into the receiver conversation. With Michael Gallup working through knee rehab and CeeDee Lamb, James Washington and Noah Brown missing time with minor injuries, Vasher got a lot of work in the OTAs and minicamp. ‘He’s made some really big-time flash plays, splash plays,’ coach Mike McCarthy said. ‘He’s had some really, particularly in the red zone, which you can see his ability down there. Big plays in scramble drills and things like that. I just think like any young player, particularly in his development, it’s getting the details of the everyday situations.'”"
The WR5 spot is still up for grabs and whoever gets it will be a decently significant contributor with Gallup gone to start the season. Vasher is excited about that opportunity:
"“Of course, I would love to be in and out the huddle with the guys and dialing up plays and scoring systems. I think that’s why any of us want to do what we do, but honestly, I would like to contribute in whatever way possible. I love football to the truest extent. So, any way that I can get out there and play and strap my stuff up and be with my teammates."