The re-signing of Amari Cooper in free agency, the emergence of Michael Gallup last season, and the drafting of CeeDee Lamb gives the Dallas Cowboys one of the elite wide receiver trios in all of football.
Cooper has helped take the passing attack to the next level under the development of Dak Prescott, Gallup has made himself a case as the best wide receiver from his draft class, and Lamb was regarded as one of the elite talents in all of college football before Dallas grabbed him with the 17th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.
As a result, quarterback Dak Prescott, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and head coach Mike McCarthy have to be dreaming about all of the weapons that they have to attack defenses.
Dallas had one of the best passing offenses across the NFL, and it appears that the Cowboys have the opportunity to be even better throwing the football during the upcoming season. That said, there is a small question mark at the position: Who will be the fourth wide receiver?
There are three candidates that have the potential to grab that role and become a target for Prescott next season.
Cedrick Wilson is a bit of a forgotten man within the Dallas Cowboys. The 2018 sixth-rounder has spent much of his young career on the sidelines due to injuries and has not had many opportunities to make an impression on the football field.
When healthy and on the field, Wilson offers ability as a receiver and as a returner. He is not the flashiest player, nor will he come close with Tyreek Hill in a sprint, but Wilson is a crafty and smooth route runner that is able to create separation and get open for the quarterback.
The trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb all have the ability to break a play open and make highlight-reel catches. Having a reliable and consistent pass catcher in the room would balance some things out and complement the other three well.
If Wilson can knock the injury bug and stay on the field, he has as good of an opportunity as any to lock up that WR4 position on the depth chart.
Devin Smith was signed by the Dallas Cowboys early last spring. The former second-round draft choice by the New York Jets offers speed and some downfield playmaking potential, as evidenced by his 51-yard touchdown reception versus Josh Norman and the Washington Redskins last season.
That play was the true highlight of Smith’s first season with the Dallas Cowboys. The Ohio State Buckeyes product only totaled 62 yards receiving and no other touchdowns the rest of the way. Still, his potential to be a threat down the field gives him the ability to challenge for that fourth wide receiver role.
We wrote an article breaking down what Smith brings to the table last August as Smith was able to showcase a little bit of his abilities during the preseason. His touchdown reception from Cooper Rush against the Los Angeles Rams gave us a glimpse:
Smith is far from a lock to make the 55-man roster. Seven of nine front-page writers included the former Jets receiver in their way-too-early roster predictions earlier this month, but Smith’s lack of production and only appearing in four games a season ago leaves some room for doubt — especially when factoring in that a new coaching staff is in charge.
A strong training camp and preseason would be very beneficial for Smith as he battles for that fourth wide receiver role and hold off other challengers looking to make the roster. While it is a small sample size, the 28-year old has shown some flashes of being a playmaker.
Aaron Parker is a sort of a darkhorse in this competition. The former Rhode Island pass catcher went undrafted in this year’s draft, but the Dallas Cowboys quickly grabbed Parker and inked him to a UDFA deal.
The 6-foot-2, 209 pound target eclipsed 3,000 yards during his collegiate career playing in the northeast. Parker, along with 2020 fifth-round draft selection Isaiah Coulter (Houston Texans), wreaked havoc on opposing defenses on the way to scoring nine touchdowns on the season.
The linebacker-turned-wide receiver failed to test like an elite athlete at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, and he struggled with concentration drops while playing on the college level. That said, there are still things to like about Parker’s game.
Parker showcased the versatility to line up all over the offense, in the slot and out wide. With Cooper and Lamb already possessing the ability to play multiple positions, Parker offers some similar ability in that regard for Kellen Moore to potentially utilize. The Rhode Island product is able to go up and get the football, securing the ball in contested-catch situations.
Parker lacks elite speed, but he is able to turn up field and create YAC. The undrafted free agent signee also possesses impressive body control, able to adjust his body in the air when tracking and going up for the football.
Parker led his conference in receiving during his final season before turning pro — just as he did as a junior in 2018 — catching 81 passes for 1,224 yards in 2019.
The Aaron Parker tape session is off to quite the start pic.twitter.com/pxbvpnZRvu— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 8, 2020
With the questions behind the top three wideouts on the roster, an opportunity is there for the taking at the fourth wide receiver spot on the roster. Parker put together an impressive career for Rhode Island and has some traits that give him the chance to be successful on the next level.
The former Rhode Island star offers versatility with his experience lining up all over an offense and some impressive ball skills and body control that give him some intriguing upside. If you are looking for an undrafted free agent on the offensive side of the ball to bet on, Parker could be your guy.
Regardless of who the fourth wide receiver ultimately turns out to be, there will not be too much pressure or expectations on them. Still, injuries are always tricky and you can never have too many weapons to surround your quarterback. Dallas is very fortunate to have an elite trio at the position, but there is a hole that needs to be filled behind them.
Who will be the Cowboys WR4 in 2020?
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