On Saturday, the Dallas Cowboys will cut their roster down to 53 players. With a lot of spots already determined, the team still has a handful of battles going on for the final spots. One of those positions is at wide receiver where the team must decide which players are going to most help the team going forward. A month ago, five players appeared to be locked in place with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown all expected to make the roster. The questions then became - will the Cowboys carry six WR’s and if they do - who will get that last spot?
Over the last month, the candidates have been Jon’Vea Johnson, Cedrick Wilson, Jalen Guyton, Reggie Davis, and Devin Smith. That group has now been whittled down to just two guys - Wilson and Smith. Both players are having great camps and it’s carried over into the preseason games.
Wilson kicked things off with a great showing in the team’s first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. Based on where he was his getting reps (with the second team), it was evident where the coaches saw him in the pecking order. He ran good routes, and showed consistency catching three passes for 35 yards. Unfortunately, Wilson exited the game early with a concussion.
Smith didn’t show up until late in the game when the third-string unit tried to mount a comeback. Smith hauled down three catches for 54 yards, but it could have been more if Mike White was on target with his deep throw late in the fourth quarter.
Devin Smith ran two nice out-routes for big gains, which set up the defender nicely for the double-move. If Mike White makes a better throw, Smith would've came close to a 100 yards with a TD against the 49ers. pic.twitter.com/wXSx07abrf— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 26, 2019
Last week against the Los Angeles Rams, Wilson was still out so that left Smith all to himself to make his case. He didn’t disappoint. Smith again caught three passes for just 24 yards, but he made a nice leaping catch for a touchdown.
Cowboys QB Cooper Rush finds WR Devin Smith in the end zone to give the Cowboys the lead pic.twitter.com/W3fPKjOAX6— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) August 18, 2019
After two preseason games, things were heating up in this wide receiver battle.
Wilson returned to play against the Houston Texans, and similar to his first game, he was right back out there doing what he does. He’s been very consistent with his receptions; his shortest catch has been for nine yards with a long of 18. He seems to get exactly what is needed to keep the chains moving. You can set your watch to it.
Cedrick Wilson sure has a nose for the marker as every single one of his catches this preseason has been for a first down. pic.twitter.com/suWr7AjNYm— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 26, 2019
While Wilson continues to be a model of consistency, Smith was no slouch. He had his best game yet with six catches for 79 yards. Just when you think one of these guys start to separate themselves, the other one shows up with a nice play and reminds us we still got a battle going on. Here is the tally so far this preseason...
- Through two games, Wilson has six catches for 72 yards
- Through three games, Smith has 12 catches for 157 yards and one touchdown
Statistically, Smith has the better numbers even if you break it down on a per game basis. It’s tough to say who really has the lead as it seems to constantly fluctuate. One thing to consider is - which player’s skill set best complements the rest of the gang? Before the Texans game, I posed this question to the panel over at the Mothership during their Pregame LIVE show [VIDEO, 35:30 mark].
And here were their responses...
“Probably Devin Smith just because he’s more built that way, but also at this point in the wide receiver depth chart you have to think about who’s going to help them on special teams. That’s going to be key. 15 and 16, sure they can run, they can catch, but can they tackle? That’s how these guys are going to get on the team.”
“And the other thing you have to consider is Tavon Austin is still here, so he might be a guy you put in the slot. Cedrick Wilson looks like a guy who can go in the slot and do different things. I think Devin Smith can do the same thing. I think they’re versatile enough to do it.”
This one’s a tough one that could come down to the wire. As great as Smith has been playing, I still lean slightly towards Wilson. And it’s entirely possible that both of them make it if the Cowboys decided to keep Noah Brown on PUP.
This is a fun battle to watch, with the winner ultimately being the Cowboys as they’re going to end up with a quality wide receiver at the bottom of their depth chart any way you cut it. Wilson has been a very reliable target, but Smith has the speed to be a home run threat. Wilson can help out on special teams as a punt returner, and Smith can help out as a gunner. Both these guys continue to do everything they’re asked to do, and picking between them is no easy task.
If you could only keep one of these wide receivers on the roster, who would it be?
This poll is closed