Hey, I was one of the first to denounce the guy, but fair is fair. Cole Beasley has already accomplished more than what I thought he would as a member of the Dallas Cowboys receiving corps. The diminutive target, towering over grasshoppers and Tolkien characters at a generous 5'8", made his mark last season for the Cowboys and outsiders have taken notice. Earlier this offseason, Pro Football Focus named Beasley as the Cowboys "Secret Superstar". Here's why.
His second season in the league saw his snaps on the field increase, although still only as high as 247, but this time he caught 39 passes, forcing five missed tackles in the process. More importantly, from the 40 catchable passes thrown his way in 2013, just one was dropped, giving him a Drop Rate of 2.50, the sixth-best mark amongst wide receivers with at least 44 targets.
That's a very good rate, but doesn't tell the entire story of what made Beasley so effective. With all of the weapons the Cowboys have at their disposal on a regular basis, Beasley was able to work himself free on the large majority of his routes run. More importantly, Beasley did this on the most crucial situations, on third downs.
Beasley ran 199 routes in 2013, of which he was targeted 52 times for a target percentage of 26.1%. That was the highest among all Cowboys receivers.
His 9.4 yards per reception is nothing to scream at, and there were no recorded deep passing attempts, but look closer and you'll see that he was used with extreme efficiency by the team. His 1.85 yards per route run was second on the team to Dez Bryant. When he was on the field, he got open and Tony Romo looked for him.
The question is, how much work will Beasley get going forward? So far, the reports are glowing about fifth-round potential steal Devin Street who has shown precise route-running to go along with his tall frame and huge catch radius.
The club also plans to move their receivers around and give Bryant more than 70 routes from the slot (he caught 11 of 18 targets from there in 2013). This would seem to minimize Beasley's opportunities to be a big contributor, as almost 93% of his routes came from the slot position.
Not so fast, as has been reported in our round ups, the coaching staff is working on getting Beasley into some situations from multiple receiver positions, not just the slot. It's questionable whether or not this is something that will be featured, or just a random opportunity. However, after watching him work his way into the rotation ever since he decided he did want a future in football, I'm not going to put much past him.
As PFF noted, Beasley may never get volume stats, but he sure seems capable of producing when given opportunities. These are the types of players that you build success with.