The Cowboys have a lot of talent: a franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, a top-three running back across the league in Ezekiel Elliott, a receivers tandem consisting of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, a talented offensive line (now minus Travis Frederick), an edge rusher at the caliber of DeMarcus Lawrence, and players that have shown promise like Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Xavier Woods.
That said, the Cowboys do have many holes to fill in order to be a legitimate contender in the upcoming season. Gerald McCoy was a great signing for the defensive line and some are optimistic about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix reuniting with Mike McCarthy, but there is still work to be done.
It is important for Dallas to continue adding players in free agency so that they do not enter the draft with one arm tied behind their back. Adding somebody like a Snacks Harrison would be wonderful for the defensive line, while EDGE rusher and defensive back continue to be a need.
Another sneaky big need for this team is adding another wide receiver to the offense.
Yes, the team did re-sign Amari Cooper to a big deal early in the free agency period and there is a ton of promise surrounding Michael Gallup, but it is difficult to win in today’s NFL with just two legit targets. Blake Jarwin has flashed, but he is largely an unknown. Randall Cobb left for a big deal in Houston. Behind the top two guys, there are more questions than answers.
There was some optimism surrounding the Cowboys and former Broncos and 49ers wideout Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders, of course, starred with the SMU Mustangs during his college days. In the end, the Bellville native inked with the Saints on a two-year, $16 million deal. The most recent rumors indicate that Dallas had some interest in 2015 first-rounder Phillip Dorsett, who has played for both the Colts and, most recently, the Patriots. Robby Anderson, who burned the Cowboys on a 92-yard touchdown last season, remained available going into Tuesday as well, but signed with the Carolina Panthers.
Cobb, by many accounts, was an upgrade in terms of dynamic ability in the slot for the Cowboys over Cole Beasley. He did have some struggles with drops, but the veteran pass catcher was able to total 55 catches, 828 yards, and three scores a season ago. He added a weapon for Prescott to go to when defenses put their focus on Cooper and Gallup.
The Eagles’ addition of Darius Slay puts more of an emphasis on adding another target. Slay gives Philly a playmaking corner in the secondary, giving them something they desperately lacked. While the rest of their secondary is less than ideal, it would be smart for the Cowboys to counter that addition by bringing in another offensive weapon.
Adding a receiver through the draft.
This year’s wide receiver class has been called historically deep and talented. The tier-one group consists of three different wideouts that can make an impact from day one, but you can find a guy in nearly every round of the draft that has the potential to grow into a reliable target.
There have been some fanatisies surrounding the idea of adding a CeeDee Lamb or a Jerry Jeudy to this offense. While those two (and Henry Ruggs III) may not be the biggest need for the Cowboys after bringing Cooper back to the fold, they will likely have the best value of anybody on the board — should they last until pick 17. BTB’s Connor Livesay outlined that exact point earlier this month:
The Cowboys have used the draft for need strategy the last few years, and it has come back to haunt them in one way or another in each of those years, 2019 being the most recent after the team drafted Trysten Hill with Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, and D.K. Metcalf still on the board. Drafting one of the three big receivers will add another dynamic route-runner in Jerry Jeudy, an absolute monster after the catch in CeeDee Lamb, or one of the fastest, yet talented receivers, coming out of the draft in the last decade in Henry Ruggs. Adding any of these players would instantly upgrade the offense, give Mike McCarthy one of the better offensive casts in the league, and give Dak Prescott another weapon to work with as he develops into one of the leagues better quarterbacks.
Adding another option at wide receiver would be smart for the Cowboys, especially with the hiring of Mike McCarthy, the decision to retain Kellen Moore, and Dak Prescott coming off of his best statistical season in the NFL. As BTB Talkin’ The Star co-host Dalton Miller tweeted, adding another receiver to complement Cooper (and Gallup) could help take this offense to the next level.
But I think every team needs 3 good receiving targets. This wasn't meant to seem like Michael Gallup isn't a stud #2. He is! But you need 3 serious pieces.— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) March 17, 2020
If one of Lamb, Jeudy, or Ruggs III are still on the board, it will be very difficult to accept the Cowboys passing on them, even if it is in favor of an EDGE, corner, or safety — all three of which have been described as bigger needs. In the draft, adding talent is more important than adding need. Any of those three would add a dynamic dimension to an offense that was ranked number one in the NFL last season.
In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. has Oklahoma’s Lamb falling to the Cowboys at pick 17.
For options later in the draft, Miller wrote on options in each round. While we gave three different day three targets to potentially replace Cobb in the slot.
Point being, the Cowboys will have options.
Adding a receiver in free agency.
Emmanuel Sanders, as noted above, is off the board to New Orleans. That is unfortunate. Still, there are a few other options that the Cowboys could be interested in for the right price.
Dorsett is the name that has been connected to the Cowboys the most of any of the remaining free agents wideouts. The Miami Hurricanes product is coming off of a season in which he grabbed just 29 catches for less than 400 yards; although, he did score five touchdowns, two more than Randall Cobb. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, so scratch him off of the list.
Breshad Perriman, a first-round pick in the same draft as Dorsett, struggled staying on the field and holding on to the football in Baltimore. However, Perriman found some life in Tampa Bay. He closed the season very strong: catching for more than 100 yards in each of the final three contests with four scores over that span. PFF wrote that Perriman “finally found some success” last season:
After leaving Baltimore following the 2017 season, former first-round pick Breshad Perriman finally found some success. He posted a 76.0 receiving grade in 2018 with Cleveland and a 72.3 receiving grade with Tampa Bay in 2019. Over that stretch, he dropped just one of his 90 targets ...
The Cowboys have not been linked to Perriman, but he remains an option should the Cowboys decide to dip into free agency for a pass catcher.
Other receivers still on the market include speedy Taylor Gabriel who torched Washington with six catches for 75 yards and three touchdowns last fall. Gabriel, 29, is getting up there in age but has shown flashes of what he had been capable of earlier in his career. Could the Cowboys have some interest in the Mesquite native?
Former Washington wideout Paul Richardson was recently released by the Redskins. After a 703-yard, six-touchdown campaign with the Seahawks in 2017, Richardson has 44 balls for 507 yards and four touchdowns in the two seasons that he spent in D.C. Was that just being a product of a dysfunctional system, or is Richardson done being the receiver he when he signed a five-year, $40 million deal prior to the 2018 season?
Electric Jakeem Grant is an interesting name. Grant, listed at 5-foot-6 and 161 pounds, is a small, speedy slot that has shown some ability of doing damage. The Texas Tech product add special teams value as well.
A sneaky good option could be former Chiefs target Demarcus Robinson, who averaged 14 yards per catch and caught four touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes on the way to a Super Bowl ring. Robinson caught four touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and has some serious speed to stretch the field and create big plays.
There have also been rumors that Dallas could be interested in at least giving Dez Bryant a workout.
Whether is through free agency or in the draft — though, the draft could be the better option after Sanders, Anderson, and Dorsett inked with different teams — adding a third wide receiver to complement Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup while giving Dak Prescott another weapon would be a smart move to continue to improve the offensive side of the ball.