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Did the Dallas Cowboys improve at wide receiver in 2018?

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Taking a good look at every position on the roster and asking the question: Did the Cowboys improve?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

[In this series, we’ll take a look at the additions and subtractions at every position on the Dallas Cowboys roster. We’ll compare where the Cowboys were to where they currently sit and ask the ultimate question. Did the Cowboys improve or not? In other words, do you feel better about the state of the roster going into the 2018 season?]

Last Season:

Dez Bryant - 16 starts, 69 receptions, 838 yards, 6 TD’s, 12.1 YPC, 52.3% catch rate, released April 13th

Terrance Williams - 16 starts, 53 receptions, 568 yards, 0 TD, 10.7 YPC, 67.9% catch rate

Cole Beasley - 15 games played, 36 receptions, 314 yards, 4 TD’s, 8.7 YPC, 57.1% catch rate

Brice Butler- 13 games played, 15 receptions, 317 yards, 3 TD’s, 21.1 YPC, 65.2% catch rate, signed with Cardinals in free agency

Ryan Switzer - drafted in 4th round, 16 games played, six receptions, 41 yards, 6.8 YPC, 85.7% catch rate, 29 punt returns, 256 yards, 1 TD, 8.8 avg. punt return, 24 kick returns, 600 yards, 25 avg. kick return, traded to Oakland Raiders for Jihad Ward

Noah Brown - drafted in 7th round, 13 games played, four receptions, 33 yards, 8.3 YPC, 44.4 % catch rate

Lance Lenoir - Practice squad

KD Cannon - Practice squad

This season:

Allen Hurns - Free agent signing from Jaguars, 2017 stats: 10 games played, 39 receptions, 484 yards, 2 TD’s, 12.4 YPC, 69.6% catch rate

Deonte Thompson - Free agent signing from Bills, 2017 stats: 16 games played, 38 receptions, 555 yards, 2 TD’s, 55.1% catch rate, 11 kick returns, 229 yards, 20.8 avg. return

Terrance Williams

Cole Beasley

Tavon Austin - via trade with Rams, 2017 stats: 16 games played, 13 receptions, 47 yards, 3.6 YPC, 0 TD, 59.1% catch rate, 59 rush att., 270 rush yds, 1 TD, 4.6 avg., 13 total returns, 66 yards

Noah Brown

Lance Lenoir

KD Cannon

Michael Gallup (Colorado State) - drafted 81st overall (3rd Round), College stats: 26 games played, 176 receptions, 2,690 yards, 21 TD’s, 15.3 YPC, 2017 NCAA Ranks: 3rd in receptions (100), 5th in rec. yards (1,418), T-60th in TD’s (7)

Cedrick Wilson (Boise State) - drafted 208th overall (6th Round), College stats: 26 games played, 139 receptions, 2,640 yards, 18 TD’s, 19 YPC, 2017 NCAA Ranks: 11th in receptions (83), 2nd in rec. yards (1,511), T-60th in TD’s (7)

Marchie Murdock - UDFA (Illinois transfer to Iowa State), College stats: 20 games played, 64 receptions, 753 yards, 8 TD’s, 11.8 YPC

Mekale McKay - former practice squad player for Jaguars & Bears

Well, we sure can say there are a lot of receivers on this roster that will be battling for positioning in a wide-open passing offense. As far as known commodities, the Cowboys have just Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley around. Beasley led the Cowboys in receiving in 2016 but took a massive step backwards in 2017. Williams is currently dealing with a broken foot, an off-field incident, and an underwhelming performance last season.

Allen Hurns is two-years removed from 1,000-yard receiving performance with the Jaguars. Lately, he dealt with minor injuries and became an afterthought in Jacksonville’s offense. However, as many NFL coaches will tell you, if they have seen it once, it can happen again. Hurns will get a great opportunity to prove that he’s still that same guy that broke out in 2015. Deonte Thompson played with two teams last season but caught on for the Bills, putting up decent numbers. Thompson showcased his speed and has some special teams value as well.

Much has been made about the Cowboys trade for Tavon Austin and they certainly seem to have a plan for the elusive player. Austin was drafted eighth overall by the Rams just a few years ago but could never find a role with the team. Still, there is no doubt that good things happen when Austin has the ball with space to move.

The Cowboys drafted two receivers in Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Both guys are volume receivers that put up big numbers in their two seasons as starters. Gallup led his entire draft class in forcing 20 missed tackles after the catch. Wilson was second in the NCAA in receiving yards. Gallup is the superior prospect, drafted three rounds earlier, but both guys were their team’s go-to guys.

Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir have spent just about every single day of their offseason practicing routes and catching passes from Dak Prescott. They both see the opportunity that lies ahead and have seemingly soaked in every moment they could. Both guys showed flashes in the preseason. Noah Brown became one of the Cowboys better blocking receivers last season. Lenoir has a tendency to get behind defenses and making splash plays.

KD Cannon, Marchie Murdock, and Mekale McKay will be facing uphill battles to snag anything more than a practice squad spot. Cannon does have some good tape from his days at Baylor, his range of skills and speed will help him in his efforts.

Conclusion: After last year’s declines, changes had to be made because it was obvious that Dez Bryant wasn’t that guy anymore, not in this offense. Sometimes you just have to blow it all up and change directions, which is exactly what they did. They addressed the position on their coaching staff, in free agency, and in the draft. We’ll soon see if their better but you could argue that they improved by subtracting what wasn’t working and starting over.

Poll

Did the Cowboys improve at wide receiver in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes
    (1080 votes)
  • 17%
    No
    (263 votes)
  • 12%
    Indifferent
    (198 votes)
1541 votes total Vote Now