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Did the Dallas Cowboys improve at wide receiver in 2017?

Did the Cowboys find improvement with their wide receiving stable?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

[After an incredible rise from worst to first in 2016 that saw the Cowboys ride the backs of two outstanding rookie campaigns to 13-3 and a changing of the guard, we have to examine the roster. From 1 to 53, we only have one question?

Have the Dallas Cowboys improved?]

Closing out the series, we look at the receivers where this position could show big improvements from a rookie draft pick.

Last Season:

Dez Bryant (started 13 games, 50 receptions, 796 yards, 15.9 YPC, eight touchdowns, one passing touchdown, Pro Bowl)

Cole Beasley (played 16 games, started six games, 75 receptions, 833 yards, 11.1 YPC, five touchdowns)

Terrance Williams (played 16 games, 15 starts, 44 receptions, 594 yards, 13.5 YPC, four touchdowns)

Brice Butler (16 games played, three starts, 16 receptions, 219 yards, 13.7 YPC, three touchdowns)

Lucky Whitehead (15 games played, three receptions, 48 yards, 16 YPC, 82 rushing yards, 17 kick returns, 394 return yards, 23.2 avg., 25 punt returns, 195 punt return yards, 7.8 avg., three fumbles)

Vince Mayle (six games played, mainly special teams, waived and claimed by Ravens on December 30th)

This Season:

Dez Bryant

Cole Beasley

Terrance Williams

Brice Butler

Ryan Switzer (drafted fourth round from UNC, played 13 games, 96 receptions, 1,112 yards, 11.6 YPC, six touchdowns, 101 career kick/punt returns, 1,107 return yards, 11.7 avg., and seven return touchdowns)

Noah Brown (drafted in seventh round from Ohio State, 13 games played, 32 receptions, 402 yards, 12.6 YPC, seven touchdowns)

Lucky Whitehead

Andy Jones (spent 2016 on the practice squad)

The Cowboys have a pretty consistent group of receivers and it was great to keep their group together. At the top, you have Dez Bryant who finished the season as one of the league best receivers. Bryant’s ability to attack the ball in the air and come down with it is extraordinary. He’s physical, aggressive, and is a scoring machine with 67 total touchdowns in his career.

Cole Beasley was easily the top target last year and he was one of the best options on third down. It’s amazing that his catch rate is well within the top of the league over 70%. Beasley is just too hard to defend and he’s also had some “beastly” plays. As small as he is, he’s shown the ability to make cornerbacks look silly trying to cover him.

Terrance Williams is not as consistent as everyone would hope but he’s a perfect number three or four receiver disguised as a number two. Williams is special for his body contortion and “twinkling toe-tapping plays”. Williams also has the ability to get open deep down the field and though he’s not the fastest, he plays with the quickness to fool defenders.

Brice Butler has all the measurable with great speed but he just hasn’t put it all together yet. He had a few drops and boneheaded plays but he still has a lot to offer this offense. In fact, he’s the only one that can do “Dez-like” things should Dez Bryant be out for a few games. Butler is not everyone’s favorite receiver but he’s been working hard to improve this offseason.

Ryan Switzer adds another Beasley-type of a receiver but he’s more physical and nasty in his playing demeanor. Switzer is an accomplished return man and could spell the end for Lucky Whitehead. Switzer also could add more to the receiving arsenal for Dak Prescott. His selection could make the offense more creative.

Noah Brown and Andy Jones will both have a hard time cracking the 53-man roster but they’re not short on athletic skill. Each of them will need to prove a lot as training camp and preseason gets underway. Noah Brown had some amazing plays albeit against a porous Oklahoma defense. Jones is someone they thought really high of last offseason and is getting another shot.

Conclusion: This is a yes to improvement as the move to get Switzer is very underrated but could pay off big during the season. The Cowboys offense is already a tough unit to face but having two slot receivers that are always finding themselves open is more than a headache, it’s a nightmare. Plus, the way Dez finished the year was incredible and you have all of Dak’s pieces still on the roster. As he gets better as a quarterback, the receivers will improve too. They go hand in hand but the improvement potential for this position is noticeable.

Check back to BTB for the final tally to this improvement series...

Poll

Did the Dallas Cowboys improve at wide receiver for 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Yes
    (1607 votes)
  • 4%
    No
    (68 votes)
1675 votes total Vote Now

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