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Which NFL Teams "Make" Their Receivers And Where Does That Leave Tony Romo And The Cowboys?

Colin Cowherd argued earlier this week that quarterbacks make wide receivers, not vice versa. We take him at his word and look at which teams "make" their wide receivers.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In a hugely enjoyable article earlier this week, Ed Valentine of Big Blue View wrote about a recent Fox Sports Radio talk show in which host Colin Cowherd lit into Giants WR Odell Beckham because "Odell Beckham’s not gonna win you games."

Cowherds argument is basically that quarterbacks make wide receivers, not vice versa, and that he would "trade Odell Beckham in 15 minutes." Here is Cowherd’s full quote:

"Odell Beckham's not gonna win you games. If you could trade Odell Beckham today and get a left tackle, All Pro, you'd do it. You'd do it in a heartbeat.

"I'd trade Odell Beckham in 15 minutes if you could give me a starting right guard and an All-Pro left tackle. Done."

Taking Cowherd by his word, Valentine looks at three tackle/guard combos, one of which is Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, and it doesn't take him long to make up his mind.

It would never happen, but I have to be honest. As great as he is, I would trade Beckham for Smith and Martin in that proverbial heartbeat. Smith is a 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro and Martin, also 25, has two Pro Bowl appearances in two season and was All-Pro as a rookie.

No can do, Mr. Valentine, no can do.


It's a fun read, but the thing that stuck with me is the idea of a QB making a WR. So today I'm going to try to figure out which teams are particularly adept at "making" a receiver, and for the purposes of this post, I'm going to consider a 1,000+ receiver a "made" receiver.

1,000+ receiving yards in a season is a stat that is correctly labeled as a season milestone for a player who achieves it. When a player puts up those kinds of numbers, he was at least very successful, perhaps even dominant against most opponents.

Last season, 26 NFL players had more than 1,000 receiving yards in the NFL. The Cowboys didn't have any 1,000+ yard receivers last year, but was last season just an injury-plagued fluke for the Cowboys?

Let's extend the scope of this 1,000 receiving-yards analysis a little further, and look at the stats for the last ten years. From 2006 to 2015, 216 receivers surpassed the 1.000+ yard milestone, and 13 of them were Cowboys players. Off the top of your head, how many teams do you think had more 1,000-yard receivers than the Cowboys? More than three? More than five? More than ten?

Before we answer that question, let's first look at how many and which Cowboys players exceeded the 1,000-yard receiving yards milestone over that period.

Dallas Cowboys 1,000+ yard Receivers, 2006 - 2015
Year Player 1
Yards Player 2
2006 Terrell Owens 1,180 Terry Glenn 1,047
2007 Terrell Owens 1,355 Jason Witten 1,145
2008 Terrell Owens 1,052 - - - -
2009 Miles Austin 1,320 Jason Witten 1,030
2010 Miles Austin 1,041 Jason Witten 1,002
2011 - - - - - - - -
2012 Dez Bryant 1,382 Jason Witten 1,039
2013 Dez Bryant 1,233 - - - -
2014 Dez Bryant 1,320 - - - -
2015 - - - - - - - -

The Cowboys have had players exceed 1,000 receiving yards 13 times in the last ten years. The Cowboys failed to produce a 1,000+ yard receiver only twice over that period. In 2011, the Cowboys didn't have a single player hit that statistical milestone, although Jason Witten (942), Dez Bryant (928), and Laurent Robinson (858) all came relatively close. In 2015, the revolving door of the Cowboys trainer room meant only Terrance Williams (840) approached the 1,000 yards.

So how many teams had more 1,000-yard receivers than the Cowboys over the last ten years?

Not a single one.

The Broncos are tied with the Cowboys at 13, the Cardinals and Patriots have 12 each, while the Colts and Packers have 11 each. Over the past seven seasons, the Cowboys have as many 1,000+ yard receivers as the Giants (8) and Eagles (5) combined. So much for that divisional discussion.

With all of that in mind, you've got to wonder, whether there is something all 13 of those Cowboys receivers had in common. Like maybe the guy throwing the ball their way.

Because if Colin Cowherd is right, and QBs make their receivers, then Tony Romo is one of the best around.


Here's the full list of 1,000+ yard receivers over the last 10 years, courtesy of

1,000+ yard receivers by team, 2006 - 2015
Team # of players Team # of players Team # of players
DAL 13 HOU 8 CLE 4
DEN 13 NYG 8 NYJ 4
ARI 12 TAM 8 CHI 4
NWE 12 CAR 8 SFO 3
IND 11 BUF 6 TEN 3
GNB 11 KAN 6 STL 3
ATL 10 PHI 5 SEA 2
NOR 10 SDG 5 JAX 2
CIN 10 BAL 5 MIN 1
DET 10 MIA 5 OAK 1

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