The Dallas Cowboys have a really good receiving corps. That’s a statement we couldn’t make this same time a year ago. But with the trade for Amari Cooper, the second-year improvement of Michael Gallup, and the free agent signing of Randall Cobb - the Cowboys have a nice starting trio that is going to be fun to watch this season.
But the Cowboys also have some interesting options beyond that. The Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin last year and then re-signed him this offseason to give the team another dynamic playmaker. Noah Brown is a player the coaching staff loves as not only can he catch passes, but he’s a fantastic blocker and adds value in special teams. Both Austin and Brown are seen as the two front-runners to make this team.
But then what? How many receivers will the Cowboys keep?
Cedrick Wilson is making a strong case to make the team. He’s having a nice training camp and a lot of the praise we’ve heard translated onto the field in Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jon’Vea Johnson has been a pet cat of many as he has the raw ability to be an explosive playmaker in this league, but as he’s showing on the field - he still has a lot of work to do to be ready. Johnson is struggling with drops and could be a candidate for the practice squad if he doesn’t turn a corner. Can the Cowboys risk putting him out on waivers, hoping another team doesn’t claim him? On Tuesday, Jerry Jones named five players he was impressed with in camp, and JVJ made his list.
Some think it’s a two-man race for that final WR spot, but it might be time to throw another guy’s name in the hat.
Devin Smith is starting to make some noise. The former second-round pick from Ohio State has had a rocky start to his NFL career. He suffered a torn ACL in his rookie season that caused him to miss games in both 2015 and 2016. He then tore his ACL again (same knee) in April of 2017 and hasn’t played a regular season game since. The Cowboys took a flyer on him by signing him to a reserve/future contract back in January. The team has been interested in Smith for a while as he was one of their pre-draft visitors back in 2015. As one of the top collegiate wide receivers at the time, the tape on Smith is quite impressive.
Similar to JVJ and Jalen Guyton, the former Buckeye receiver is a speed demon. He can flat out fly. He can also contribute on special teams as a gunner which adds to his overall value. He had a nice game on Saturday as he led the Cowboys in receiving. After a good showing against the 49ers, he made our rising stock list earlier in the week. And based on training camp practice this past week, he continues to impress.
Devin Smith. Coaches have been really pleased with how he’s been playing pic.twitter.com/YEZUleQfpz— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 13, 2019
Nice catch by Devin Smith here in 1v1s pic.twitter.com/lgr4DSKBeB— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 14, 2019
It’s normal for the needle to move on these receivers with each new day of action so it’s not surprising we see swings like this. Smith is certainly doing well now, but what will the rest of training camp and preseason games bring? To his credit, he’s starting to show more consistency and that could be the ticket in making this football team. His second-round draft stock doesn’t mean a whole lot now, but it does speak to how people viewed him once upon a time when he was healthy. If his body doesn’t let him down, the upside is there, and Smith could be one of those sleepers that find their way on the roster.