At the beginning of the preseason, Devin Smith seemed to be on the outside looking in at the wide receiver position. Smith was not getting as much hype as guys like Cedrick Wilson, Jon’vea Johnson, and Jalen Guyton, and it seemed as if he would have a hard time finding a spot on the team.
On Saturday Smith proved that doubt wrong, as Dallas trimmed down their roster, letting go of Wilson, Johnson, and Guyton off the active roster, but keeping Smith.
Devin Smith has made the Cowboys 53-man roster, per source.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 31, 2019
There are a couple of likely reasons why Smith made the team, but the first is the injury to another former Ohio State Buckeye, wideout Noah Brown. Currently, Brown is still dealing with a knee injury that will force him to start the season on the PUP list.
Noah Brown remains on the PUP and Ezekiel Elliott remains on the Reserve/did not report list.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 31, 2019
If Brown was fully healthy, Smith may not be on this team, but this is just not the case. Brown’s health is clearly a big question mark, so Dallas felt the need to keep Smith as his current replacement. Smith’s ability to play outside also likely played a big role in why Dallas kept him on the team.
Devin Smith can certainly be of use
All signs point to Amari Cooper being ready to play in Week One against the New York Giants, but that does not mean his injury could not flare back up at any minute during the regular season. If Cooper was out Dallas would have only Michael Gallup as their one wideout who is used to playing outside. Tavon Austin cannot play outside on a regular basis due to his size, and Randall Cobb has done almost all off his work from the slot throughout his career.
This is where Smith comes in handy. If Cooper was forced to miss time, Smith could slide in as the second outside receiver behind Gallup, still allowing Cobb to play in the slot and Austin to serve his gadget role.
When he was on the field in the preseason, Smith played very well. In four games he caught 14 passes for 188 yards and found the end zone against the Los Angeles Rams.
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
Smith really started to turn it on during the final practices at Oxnard, and carried this momentum back to Dallas and turned it into a roster spot.
The key is that Devin Smith is finally healthy
After being drafted in 2015, Smith has only been able to play in 14 games in his short NFL career. For the first time since his rookie year he enters a season healthy and ready to compete. As the fifth receiver, Smith likely will not get many snaps in the Dallas offense, if he is even able to work his way onto the 46 man roster for gameday. But some believe his willingness to work on special teams may give him a spot on that 46.
WR Devin Smith deserves credit for how he worked his way onto the 53. Now, will he make it to the 46? He actually did a nice job on special teams at times. Former second round pick showed he was willing to do the dirty work.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 31, 2019
If he is on the 46 against the New York Giants, Smith will likely get at least two or three chances to get on the field as a receiver. One thing he does posses is outstanding speed, and this could be valuable for Dallas late in a game. Being able to bring out a pair of fresh legs who is a burner during the third or fourth quarter could set up for a big play.
He may not play a huge role to start in the Dallas’ offense, but Devin Smith deserves tons of credit for just making the Cowboys’ roster. This is a guy who has fought through injuries that would have forced others to tap out. One thing is for sure with Smith, he is going to continue to fight, and this may just help him work his way onto the field during the regular season.