The Dallas Cowboys are going to need much better production at the wide receiver position in 2023 after the 2022 season unfolded the way that it did. With all due respect, Noah Brown tying for third on the team in overall targets (74) with Michael Gallup is simply unacceptable for a team of Dallas' caliber.
What's worse? The Cowboys made one of the worst trades of the 2022 NFL offseason when they sent Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for virtually nothing. The Cowboys should have probably done whatever they needed to do to make Cooper's contract work because he was clearly much more valuable to the offense than anyone cared to admit.
His absence was felt, and the fact that Dallas had Noah Brown even in the mix to rank 2nd on the team in targets in 2022 is NFL roster malpractice. Luckily, the Cowboys are in much better position in 2023 at this position group with one major veteran addition and the potential progression of a second-year player who could be the team's future WR2.
Let's dive in for a closer look at the Cowboys' wide receiver depth chart and what to expect in 2023.
Top starters: CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks
At this point, CeeDee Lamb is well-established as one of the top playmakers in the game. Nobody is questioning Lamb's ability to substantially impact games or turn the tides in any contest with his big-play ability and consistency as a go-to threat. The Dallas Cowboys were super lucky to get him when they did in 2020 and as of last season, he was pushing averaging nearly 10 targets per game.
Lamb took on a vastly increased workload in the passing game, however, due to the absence of Amari Cooper. And there was no one in Dallas to fill that void. They assumed it would be Michael Gallup (more on him in a moment) but Gallup ended up tied with Noah Brown at 74 targets in 14 games last season. He didn't look like his former self.
Brandin Cooks was acquired in an in-state trade with the Houston Texans to really bring that veteran presence back to Dallas' wide receiver group, and I think he will do just that. The former first-round pick out of Oregon State has racked up 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Saints, Patriots, Rams, and Texans. Could the Cowboys be his 5th team? That might depend on how many targets he ends up getting, but as the WR2 this coming season, he stands a pretty good chance of finishing with over 1,000 yards, or close to it.
Although Cooks isn't getting younger, his effectiveness doesn't seem to be diminishing. Acquiring him was obvious atonement for the Amari Cooper trade but I liked this move a lot for Dallas when it happened and I think it's going to end up being one of the most underrated moves any team made all offseason.