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Why Cedrick Wilson’s early-season production is important for the Cowboys present and future

The Cowboys third-year wideout has impressed so far.

NFL: OCT 17 Cowboys at Patriots Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming into the season it was hard to envision Cedrick Wilson playing a large role in the Cowboys offense. In an offense that features three Pro Bowl-caliber receivers, two extremely talented running backs and two solid tight ends, it didn’t seem like Wilson would be too involved.

As we all now know, that all changed when Michael Gallup went down in Week 1. Gallup’s injury provided an opportunity for the former sixth-round pick to get his first real extended action to show what he can do. So far, six games in, Wilson has impressed.

The 25-year-old wideout has caught 14 passes on 19 targets for 168 yards and scored two touchdowns. If Wilson was to keep up this pace of production, he’d finish the season with around 40 catches for close to 500 receiving yards and five or six touchdowns. All of those numbers would blow past his previous career-highs.

Wilson also has recorded the highest receiving grade of his career, 69.6, via Pro Football Focus. He has an outstanding rapport with Dak Prescott, shown by his 113.5 passer rating when targeted.

On Sunday, the wideout had some highs and lows. Sure, he was unable to haul in what looked like a sure touchdown in the second quarter. But, he also made probably the play of the season so far for the Cowboys, hauling in a game-saving catch on fourth and four with 1:30 remaining in the contest.

Wilson’s spectacular catch allowed the Cowboys to keep the drive alive and ultimately led to Greg Zuerlein kicking a game-tying field goal to send the game to overtime.

Wilson showed great resiliency, and finished the game with four catches for 42 yards, both season-highs, and probably the best overall catch of his career, given the circumstances.

This solid start to the season is important for the Cowboys’ present, but also their future. At the end of the season, there’s seems to be a good chance Michael Gallup departs in free agency. With all the money tied up elsewhere on the roster, it does not seem like Dallas will be able to match what Gallup will get on the open market.

The Cowboys will need a cheaper option to be the full-time third wideout in their offense. So far this season, Wilson is showing that he can be trusted to be that guy.

When Gallup does return, Wilson’s role in the offense will be reduced, there’s no denying that. But even with Gallup back, the wideout has given the Cowboys a reason to believe he can continue to produce in their offense this year, and potentially for years to come.