It’s not hard to argue that the position group on the Cowboys with the biggest turnover this offseason was wide receiver.
Dallas made a lot of changes and brought in a bunch of new faces. They signed receivers, drafted receivers, and even traded for a receiver. They explored all avenues of acquisition.
Heading into training camp it was difficult to project exactly who would make the 53-man roster at receiver. There were definitely locks, but there were also players on the bubble, and as always, there were pet cats. It’s been a hodgepodge that’s difficult to dissect.
As we’re now over two weeks into training camp and have had some action at the position things are becoming a little bit more clear as to who might ultimately make the roster. We’ve broken them into categories, and I’m sure you’ll totally agree. Let’s begin.
The Definites: Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Michael Gallup
Three of these names (Beasley, Hurns, Gallup) have been on people’s radars as locks for a long time. It’s been Terrance Williams that people don’t want to commit to, despite his fully guaranteed salary for 2018.
The truth is though that Terrance has played very well throughout camp, and that’s in spite of coming off of a foot injury over the offseason. He hasn’t lit the world on fire and he’ll never be what people qualify as a “number one” receiver on a team, but he’s a solid veteran presence and he’s proven that two weeks in.
The Guys Who’s Cases Are Really Strong: Deonte Thompson, Lance Lenoir
When the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson there were many who scoffed (maybe myself included). He’s really impressed at camp though and the overwhelming likelihood is that he also makes the team. Then there’s Lance Lenoir.
Lenoir is a pet cat of many around the BTB stratosphere. He’s certainly benefited from other circumstances surrounding the position thus far in camp, but the important thing is that he’s made the most of all the opportunities that have come his way. Things are definitely looking up for him.
The On-The-Bubbles: Noah Brown
The other receiver who was actually on the 53-man roster last season was Noah Brown. That feels like a decade ago.
Noah had been limited by injury early on in training camp, but it seems like things have turned around in that regard as of late for him. It’s certainly possible that he has an impressive preseason and returns to the team, but right now we just haven’t seen it. If there’s a roster spot that Lance Lenoir is taking, it’s definitely Noah’s.
The Exceptions: Tavon Austin, Cedrick Wilson
Is Tavon Austin a running back or a wide receiver? Who knows. How will the Cowboys count him when they put together their 53-man roster? Who knows.
Tavon Austin is going to be on this team, we know that. Whether he’s a running back or a wide receiver is somewhat of a moot point, he’s an offensive weapon and puts the Cowboys in a bit of a unique spot in terms of roster construction.
Cedrick Wilson is also an exception of sorts due to his injury that will sideline him all season. Injuries are never a good thing, but it is definitely a fortunate thing for the Cowboys (and probably Cedrick himself) that they can put him on ice for the year and re-visit his status with the team next season when the position as a whole looks a little different.
The Out-Of-The-Runnings: Mekale McKay, Marchie Murdock, K.D. Cannon, Rickey Jeune
This isn’t meant as a knock to any of these receivers, it’s just the reality of the business that is roster construction for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. There are more players than there are roster spots and it’s easy to see that these are the four who are at the tail end of the group right now.
We could be looking at a situation where the Cowboys technically keep seven wide receivers with Tavon Austin. That’s an inordinate amount, but they’re unsettled at the position and need a lot of capable bodies.
Of course keeping that many players at one spot means you have to go shallow somewhere else, and thus is the pickle of roster-building. The preseason will tell us a lot, but here’s where we stand as we get ready for San Francisco.