Arguably the biggest question mark surrounding the Dallas Cowboys as the 2018 NFL season gets closer and closer is the wide receiver position. Who will catch passes from Dak Prescott? Is there a potential go-to target on the roster?
Dez Bryant is gone and new additions have been brought in. Allen Hurns had a tremendous season for the Jaguars back in 2015 and looks to be a focal point of the Cowboys offense, Michael Gallup has been turning some heads, and, of course, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams are still on the roster.
The general thought is that Dallas will carry six wideouts when the 53-man roster is determined in early September. Hurns, Gallup, Beasley, and Williams are considered to be four near-locks, but the group of Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, Lance Lenoir, and Deonte Thompson are all battling for two — maybe three — spots.
The battle took a hit on Sunday, as Cedrick Wilson reportedly suffered a torn labrum during Saturday’s practice. What was initially thought to be a minor injury that may hold him out a day or two out of camp is now reported to be an injury that could potentially hold the former Boise State star out of football for four-to-six months.
Yikes. Not ideal.
What does this mean for the rest of the wide receivers battling for a roster spot on the Dallas Cowboys? For as many pass catchers the Cowboys currently have in camp, only a select few will still be on the active roster when September 1st comes.
The 2017 seventh-round selection surprised many when he made the cut and played in 13 of the team’s 16 games a season ago. While he did not make much of an impact catching the football last season (four catches, 33 yards), Brown found a role as an impressive blocker at the receiver position — an aspect that Jason Garrett and company certainly love.
However, the Ohio State product is dealing with some injuries as well. Brown has missed some important practices due to a sore hamstring. While Brown does have the advantage of being on the roster just last year, he needs to have a healthy and productive month of August to hold off the other challengers gunning for one of those roster spots.
There seems to be many fans hoping to see Lance Lenoir breakthrough and make a push to make the 53-man squad. The Western Illinois product was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 draft, and the Cowboys were intrigued enough by him to stash him on the practice squad.
He showed some flashes last preseason, even catching a touchdown pass from fellow UDFA Cooper Rush versus the Colts last August.
Cooper Rush to Lance Lenoir for the TD! pic.twitter.com/ES8A0z0a8W— DemBoyzNation (@DemBoyzNation) August 20, 2017
This year, Lenoir is doing his best to move up from the practice squad, and the staff appears to be rewarding him for his hard work. Lenoir has received some first- and second-team reps, as well as practicing at return man, this training camp.
Our own DannyPhantom says to not forget about number 14:
He may be on the outside looking in, but there’s been a lot of praise thrown his way when it comes to how hard he is working to make the team. Lenoir fits the dark horse description well as not too many people see him as a guy whose got a legit shot, but don’t tell him that. Receiving jobs are still up for grabs and Lenoir is going to fight until the very end.
One thing is for sure, Lenoir is working hard:
When does Lance Lenoir sleep? pic.twitter.com/nnZcnJPLdJ— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) July 2, 2018
Allen Hurns got most of the hype, but Deonte Thompson also inked with the Cowboys during free agency. The speedy receiver out of Florida has the skills to help out on special teams while also possessing the ability to take the top off a defense.
Thompson, who played under new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal in Buffalo for the Bills, is a burner that has averaged over 13 yards per reception during his NFL career. The former Florida Gator has 77 catches for 1,032 yards and four touchdowns to his name while spending time with the Bills, Bears, and Ravens.
If you’re looking for a guy that has a sneaky good chance to make the roster, look no further than Thompson. His speed and potential deep-threat ability, experience as a kick returner, and relationship with Lal all gives him a chance to make the squad.
Who do you expect to step up in this positional battle?