Sometimes I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. When the team was been quiet in free agency, I was completely at peace with things. But then, the moment they sign Allen Hurns, fans are ecstatic about it, yet I find myself a little confused about the decision.
Don’t get me wrong, Hurns is a good receiver. Anyone that played fantasy football in 2015 is privy to his pass-catching awesomeness that saw him haul down 64 receptions for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns. Where did this guy come from?
Well, the correct answer is - the University of Miami, where he holds the single-season receiving yards record. And that’s rather impressive considering there have been some pretty talented Hurricane receivers over the year. I’m sure you recognize #9 on this list:
Most receiving yards by a Miami Hurricane in a single season— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) March 23, 2018
1.) Allen Hurns: 1,162
2.) Leonard Hankerson: 1,156
3.) Eddie Brown: 1,114
4.) Andre Johnson: 1,092
5.) Wesley Carroll: 952
6.) Ahmmon Richards: 934
7.) Santana Moss: 899
8.) Phillip Dorsett: 871
9.) Michael Irvin: 868
Despite a great senior year at Miami, he wasn’t selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. His draft profile from our New York Jets sister site, Gang Green Nation, is as follows:
Quickness: He doesn’t have top end speed, but he is very quick over a short area and enough pace to really challenge players downfield as well.
Recognition: Always seems to find a way to get open, doesn’t have the best acceleration, but he really sells his routes, and manages to find the soft areas in zone.
Physical blocker: He is lean and thin, but he puts 100% effort into the blocking game, and surprisingly, he’s actually quite a good consistent blocker on the outside.
Separation: Someone tried to tell me he won’t get separation at the next level, I don’t understand that. He gets separation consistently with crisp routes and fast breaks.
Multi-threat: He can go deep, run the intermediate, Miami liked to get him the ball on screens and swing passes too, he can do a lot of things well.
Route running: I really liked what I saw from Hurns in terms of his route running ability, he gets in and out of his breaks quickly and smoothly, which is why he was able to amass 1000+ yards at Miami.
Height: He’s not 6”3, that’s his listed height but I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes in at under 6”2 officially.
Lean: He has very thin legs, thin arms and thin frame....against tougher press coverage in the NFL, that may well be a problem.
Concentration: He’s not known as a dropper but sometimes he’s looking what he’ll do with the ball before he actually has the ball.
Did have a few niggling injuries throughout his career, with a concussion and issues with his hand. Doesn’t seem to have affected him at all based on 2013 numbers.
But drafted or not, Hurns would waste no time making an impression in the NFL. In his debut with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the first two passes he caught were both for touchdowns, matching a feat only done one other time (Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions 2003). He would have a solid rookie season, catching 51 passes for 677 yards and six touchdowns.
In just his second season, he had a breakout year and is the only undrafted free agent to have 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league. It was good enough to land him on the NFL’s Top 100 list...
Allen Hurns made the 2016 Top 100 NFL Players list.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) March 23, 2018
Bill Belichick: "Where did he come from? Damn! That guy is a good player."https://t.co/2ArgtXLBMi
It was also good enough to help him land a four-year, $40 million deal with $16 M of that guaranteed. But it didn’t take long for the honeymoon to be over as Hurns struggled to stay healthy and never eclipsed the 500-yard mark over the next two seasons. In 2016, he missed five games to a hamstring injury. And then last season, he injured himself in Week 11 and was out for the season when this happened.
Granted, he’s missed games in each of the last three seasons, but does that mean he’s injury prone? He has a lean build and also dealt with nagging injuries in college. But if Hurns can stay healthy and resemble the player he was in 2015, this would be a great signing for the Cowboys.
And he’s not just a guy who finds a way to get open and make big plays. He has certain traits the team looks for as he’s a good blocker. Our own Dave Halprin provided this tidbit of information:
Hurn’s PFF run blocking grade was 72.3 which ranked 20th, interestingly Deonte Thompson’s was 75.5 which ranked 6th, Noah Brown’s was 74.2 which was 10th and Terrance Williams’ was 70.4 which ranked 31st... I’m sensing a pattern!
While Hurns may be a good player to have, it still brings about questions as to what the Cowboys are up to when it comes to their wide receiver group. Are they trying to replace certain players? When we heard the team was interested in Sammy Watkins, the size of such an investment would infer that they were willing to move away from Dez Bryant. Now, with the acquisition of Hurns, it looks like Terrance Williams could be on the outside. Last year, many fans felt the Cowboys wouldn’t be able to afford Williams, and were excited about him resigning with the team. Now, people are hoping he gets his pink slip. Even the most friendliest Dak-friendly receiver to date, Cole Beasley, is being mentioned as a potential release target to free up some cap space.
Last year, the Cowboys receiving group struggled, but many of these struggles were also factors of other problems. Dak Prescott had problems at times, but even those instances were heavily influenced by poor protection. Wouldn’t the better solution be to fix the holes on the offensive line? Fix that and Dak gets better, Dez gets better, Beas gets better...everyone gets better. It seems like their resources would be better spent on other things.
The Cowboys front office doesn’t see it that way. They don’t throw that kind of free agent money around if they don’t think it’s important. Changes in the receiver group is something that has been deemed important to this team. What’s even more surprising is that the upcoming draft has a some great options at wide receiver through the first few rounds. For a team that wants to build through the draft, it almost seems like they are removing the draft from the equation. Can they really take Calvin Ridley at 19 now? Gosh, I hope so if that’s the player who is the clear “best player” on their board. But would taking a receiver in the first few rounds be too many resources spent on the receiving group? The team is supposed to use free agency to allow them to take the best talent available, not block them from it.
Maybe this team has another agenda. Have they been receiving offers from Terrance Williams?
If the Cowboys don’t have plans to move away from any of their current receivers, it sure is going to be crowded. Hurns certainly makes things interesting in Dallas and can help reload an assortment of weaponry for Prescott.