Once the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with Dez Bryant, it was a sure-bet that wide receiver would be a position the Cowboys were going to invest in during the draft. There was some speculation that the Cowboys would draft one of the premier, blue-chip receiving talents early in the draft like Alabama’s Calvin Ridley or Maryland’s D.J. Moore. But Dallas stayed true to their board to select linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
The Cowboys waited until the third round to select Colorado State’s Michael Gallup. With the injury and recent arrest of Terrance Williams, Gallup was the guy who would receive extended opportunities with the first team to prove his worth.
Despite using a Day 2 pick on Gallup, the Cowboys crave competition across their depth chart and drafting players who provide the ability to do multiple things for them. Knowing that, the Cowboys selected Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson in the sixth round. Vander Esch was also from Boise State. Wilson is now the fourth Boise State Bronco on the roster with DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Vander Esch. And there would have been five if Orlando Scandrick was on the roster in 2018.
You may recognize the name Cedrick Wilson. That is because his father, Cedrick Sr., was a key contributor for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 2005 Super Bowl run. In Wilson, the Cowboys are investing in a player with football bloodlines that is relatively new to the wide receiver position.
Wilson was originally a quarterback, an all-state one at that. Upon his arrival to Coffeyville Community College, he switched positions to wide receiver. The benefits were immediate as Wilson was All-Conference in his freshman season and All-American in his sophomore season.
He then transferred to Boise State for two years of eligibility at the Division I level. In two seasons there playing on the blue turf, Wilson caught 139 passes for 2,640 passes and 18 touchdowns, while also including some contributions on kick returns and punt returns.
Despite being relatively new to the receiver position, on tape he is a professional route-runner who will only develop more, and become more comfortable at the position, in an NFL offense with better competition and more coaching. Because of his football background, Wilson comprehends receiving route trees. He also shows the ability to win one-on-one battles in tightly contested areas.
He is not the fastest receiver, but he beats defensive backs with subtle moves and the ability to adjust his routes. While Wilson has the pedigree and the potential to become a mainstay in the Cowboys’ offense, there are some things he will obviously need to work on.
His ball skills need work, as they should considering how new he is to the position. On tape at Boise State, he struggled with getting off the line of scrimmage and breaking free from the opposition. Dallas obviously loves his blue-collar, “go get it” type of attitude. He has shown in the past that he is willing to do whatever it takes for his team to win.
In terms of his spot on the roster, Wilson’s impact in his rookie season similar to that of Noah Brown’s in 2017, at least as a pass catcher. As a rookie, Brown played sparingly, being brought on more later into the season. Brown finished the season with just four receptions for 33 yards, but he picked up the playbook later in the season and received more snaps. The one difference is that Brown was used as a blocker more than Wilson will be.
Dallas will obviously not ask much out of Wilson in the start of his first season, but he could be playing more minutes towards the end of the year. While Terrance Williams may be the longest tenured Cowboy receiver on the roster, his spot on the roster is not necessarily secure.
If Williams does not perform towards the end of the 2018 season and Wilson shows the ability to get more of a role in the offense, it would not come as a surprise if the Cowboys wanted to part ways with the former Baylor product. Dallas added four new receivers this offseason, two by virtue of the draft and two in free agency. There are some flaws to his game, but Wilson has the mental makeup to become a contributor in short time for the Cowboys and their new-look passing offense.