We are taking a look at the entire offseason roster of the Dallas Cowboys. The first installment broke down the quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends. Now we’ll dive into the wide receivers and offensive line, where some very exciting things happened during the NFL Draft.
Let’s just list them together as WR1a, WR1b, and WR1c, in no particular order. Both Cooper and Gallup exceeded 1,100 yards receiving, and they combined for 14 touchdowns last season. That was with Cooper fighting a nagging injury for most of the year. During free agency, Randall Cobb moved down I-45 to join the Houston Texans, taking over 800 yards and three TDs out of the equation. There was hope entering the draft that a deep WR class would allow them to adequately replace him.
“Adequate” is a gross understatement of what Lamb brings to the team. Many saw him as the best receiver coming out this year, and just about everyone had him in the top three with Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Lamb brings size, the ability to win contested catches, and a remarkable ability to get yards after the catch, including, but not limited to, an absolute ton of broken tackles during his college career at Oklahoma. With all the games that he played in the Dallas area, the scouting staff was extremely familiar with his body of work, which also included 54 punt returns during his three-year career.
He now brings his ability to play outside or in the slot to the team, which means that Kellen Moore can move him and the two vets around. It’s little wonder that Mike McCarthy said Moore was already drawing up some new wrinkles as soon as Lamb was announced as the 17th overall pick.
Now the battle is on for the fourth, fifth, and possible sixth spot on the roster. And it is pretty much wide open, with no one having a clear lead at this point.
They are the only other receivers to have much in the way of snaps last season, and it was pretty paltry. Wilson had 113 with Smith just logging 46, and each only caught five balls. Still, the experience counts enough to give them perhaps a slight advantage going into camp. Wilson in particular has flashed some in his first two preseasons, but missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. If he can show some of that potential again, he is a decent bet to make the roster.
All bring familiarity with the system to the table, but little in the way of production. Bryant is the only one to have recorded a catch last year. The others spent time on the practice squad or IR during their tenures. They will have a hard time breaking through, although there are some rumors, which may or may not have much behind them, that Brown could get a look at tight end in camp.
As is usual, the Cowboys signed multiple WRs as UDFAs to provide the requisite numbers for camp. Rogers is seen by some as some as having the best chance to make some noise, but all should be encouraged by the history of a UDFA WR or two at least becoming a camp darling.
The backups are still very much TBD, but that top three may wind up as the most potent group of starters in the league. Dak Prescott has to be itching to start throwing the ball to them whenever football activities finally get underway.
The returning starters are still one of the most solid groups in the league. The glaring hole is caused by the retirement of Travis Frederick, the perennial Pro Bowler, who never recovered fully from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. But the team has a solid plan for finding his replacement with the next three names.
Looney started the 2018 season that Frederick missed, and is a proven quantity, if not at the level of the latter. McGovern has starter potential, and the move to trade up and grab Biadasz just improves the chances of finding a worthy successor in the middle of the line. It will be interesting to see who the team has working with the ones at the start of camp, and how they manage to get work for all the candidates. McGovern and Looney also have position flexibility, which is a good thing for the team. It also complicates things and could actually give Biadasz an advantage in the battle for the starting job, as both the veterans are well worth keeping for depth.
Both are also center candidates, with Redmond seen as having more ability to also play guard. At the moment, they are mostly insurance.
With Cameron Fleming gone, Dallas needs to identify a swing tackle. The new rules on the game day roster, which allows two practice squad players to be elevated each week and also states that one must be an offensive lineman, means that there are likely going to be two jobs open. Knight and Hyatt are seen as the leaders at the start of camp.
He’s a guard, and likely to be squeezed out by the surfeit of interior line talent. But he has been kept around for a reason, so he might be a dark horse.
The OT is the only UDFA addition to the line group this year, which is quite a switch from last season, where Hyatt, Miller, and Henry all were in that category. He has a steep hill to climb to even make the practice squad.
The International Pathways player is a unique case, in that he cannot be added to the 55-man roster, but he is now the first known practice squad player for the Cowboys under the rules of the program - and he is basically a freebie, since he doesn’t count against the normal PS numbers. He is sort of a footnote, but it is worth noting that former Dallas UDFA Efe Obada went on to join the Carolina Panthers under the program in 2017, and has since played in 26 games over two years for them.
These are two very strong groups for the Cowboys. The task now is to identify the best, and probably carry even more on the PS. In any case, there should be no real issues once real football comes back.