As we continue to take a look at some of the "projects" on the Cowboys' roster, the focus moves to the wide receiver position. Earlier this week there was some bad news coming out of Valley Ranch with 2012 fifth-round draft pick Danny Coale breaking a bone in his foot that will require surgery. Coale was one of my pet cats for the 2012 season and I was very upset to see him go down for what looks like a significant amount of time.
The wide receiver position has the starters locked in with two superstar talents in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, but after that there is a big question mark. The battle for the #3 and #4 wide receiver jobs on the depth chart will be the best battle of training camp this summer. Kevin Ogletree may be the front runner, but I believe Raymond Radway will beat him without breaking a sweat. Dwayne Harris was a player that I was very happy to see drafted last year, and he was very productive during the pre-season. Harris is another option that can make the team with a good performance this training camp.
After Ogletree, Radway and Harris there are bunch of talented undrafted rookies hoping to make an impression and earn a roster spot. Perhaps the most intriguing wide receiver who will be battling for a job is second-year player Andre Holmes.
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Holmes has a great combination of size and athleticism that make him stand out. The mothership lists him at 6'5, 208 pounds, so he has the size to become a big time mismatch. Last year he was invited to the NFL Combine where he had some pretty good measurables.
- 4.51 40 yard dash
- 35 inch vertical jump
- 10'10" broad jump
- 6.69 three-cone drill
- 34 inch arms
There aren't too many wide receivers who have that type of size and speed. Even though he went to a small school, Holmes dominated his level of competition. As I mentioned in my previous post about Aston Whiteside, you want to see these small school guys dominate at their level. Holmes had 104 receptions, 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season at Hillsdale. His career numbers include 219 receptions, 3,092 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The Cowboys were interested in him last year and brought him in for a pre-draft visit. Holmes wasn't drafted and signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but was later released and joined the Cowboys' practice squad. When Phillip Tanner was placed on the injured reserve, Holmes was promoted to the roster even though he was suffering from a hamstring injury that eventually kept him on the shelf for the rest of the season.
A major reason he was brought up from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster was to keep another team from signing him. It's obvious that Jerry Jones and the front office like this kid a lot. Jerry hyped Holmes up to the media during the offseason when it was still unclear if we could re-sign Laurent Robinson.
"We have, in addition, a very good young receiver (in Holmes) that we’re really proud of, so he’s a factor in what we do here with Robinson, not do diminish what Robinson did here for us this year or can do in the future. He has a real knack of keeping the play alive, and that works real well with (Tony) Romo."
Now I highly doubt that Holmes can replicate what Robinson did last year, but he does have an interesting skill set that is comparable to Plaxico Burress. Burress was a monster at wide receiver who used his size and speed to his advantage. Once again I have to give another hat tip to DCFanatic of www.dcfanatic.com. He created the only highlight video of Holmes that can be found on the internet.
Andre Holmes: Is he the next Laurent Robinson for Cowboys? (via JAMES CARTER)
Keep in mind that this is another small school highlight video, but the speed and size could translate over to the NFL if Holmes can learn the playbook and run proper routes. Jason Garrett gave a positive review of Holmes to the media recently.
"He’s a big, raw guy who the quarterbacks really like throwing the football to," Garrett said. "He’s a big target. He’s quarterback-friendly. He’s got some speed and some explosiveness as well. He just needs to play more and learn how to play."
Right now I would say Radway is the front runner for the #3 wide receiver role, but the #4 spot is wide open. If Holmes can make the adjustment to the NFL competition, then the Cowboys may have found another weapon for Tony Romo. I cannot wait for training camp to see how this position battle turns out. Remember that two of the premier wide receivers in the NFC East (Miles Austin and Victor Cruz) both came from humble beginnings. The odds may not be in his favor, but Holmes could make an impact in Dallas this season.