There are 1,696 active players over 32 NFL franchises every week. While that’s a large number, more people are on the outside looking in. Just as players fight for their spot on a roster, they must fight to maintain it.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown has been fighting for an opportunity to play football since his time at Pope John XXIII High School. He split time as a running back and a wideout in his junior year before becoming the team’s top receiver as a senior.
The four-star recruit committed to Ohio State, one of America’s top college football programs. Unfortunately for Brown, he would only catch 33 passes over three seasons, with 32 coming in his draft year. Despite the lack of production, physical traits and a great work ethic made him a developmental NFL draft prospect.
The New Jersey native had been on the border of making the Cowboys roster since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Like his college career, Brown struggled to find himself on the field for offensive snaps in the big leagues. Even on the gridiron, the wide receiver played as a blocker rather than a receiver.
The Cowboys have had a very talented wide receiver room over the years, which resulted in Brown taking a back seat. Dez Bryant, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb have run the show. While many are upset with the departure of Cooper and Cedrick Wilson and injuries to Michael Gallup and James Washington, the roster changes meant a chance for the receiver.
Hard work pays off, and it’s proving so for Cowboys wideout Noah Brown
Brown got an opportunity and is taking advantage. He played a career game in Week 2, catching five passes for 91 yards and his first regular-season touchdown. On Wednesday, a reporter brought up his previous role compared to his new one.
"“I mean a couple of years ago you were playing tight end, weren’t you?”"
After laughing a bit, Brown responded
"“It looked so, yeah … never my official title, but it looked as if I was, yeah.”"
His performance was one to watch and shocked many except himself and those close to him. Brandon Martinez looks at Brown as a hidden gem Dallas never knew they had. A lot is being asked of the six-foot-two receiver, but he has eclipsed the expectations.
It took six seasons for him to catch a regular season touchdown. Still, the hard work and dedication over that time are starting to pay off. With 159 receiving yards in two weeks, it’s safe to assume No. 85 will eventually eclipse his current season high of 184 yards.
The expected return of Gallup on Monday could crowd the room a bit, but a familiar connection between backup quarterback Cooper Rush and Brown should provide decent looks regardless. The feel-good story continues against the NFC East division rival Giants in Brown’s home state of New Jersey on Monday Night Football.