The Cowboys may not be done adding defensive players in this draft, but they’re definitely focusing on the offense a bit more right now. With the 179th overall pick, Dallas chose Stanford receiver Simi Fehoko.
If you’re looking for a height-weight-speed specimen in the 2021 #NFLDraft, remember Stanford WR Simi Fehoko.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) March 18, 2021
6-foot-4, 222-pound receiver who ran a 4.42 at his Pro Day. Has tremendous ball skills and can stretch the field vertically. pic.twitter.com/Cigt3FkHmP
Fehoko is a very intriguing prospect based solely on his measurables. At 6’4” and 222 pounds, he’s one of the biggest receivers in this draft. Yet, he doesn’t lose any speed due to that size, evident by his 4.42 40-yard dash that he ran at his Pro Day.
A reason for Fehoko lasting this long, in addition to this receiver class being stacked in general, is that Fehoko doesn’t have a ton of experience. He had just one catch his freshman year, but took on a bigger role as a sophomore. Through nine games he caught 24 passes for 566 yards and six touchdowns. Fehoko moved into a more prominent role in 2020, but the Pac 12’s shortened season resulted in just six games. Still, he put up 37 catches for 574 yards and three touchdowns. That’s good production over that short span of games, but he really only has 15 career games to his name coming into the NFL.
As you’d expect from a guy with his measurables, Fehoko excels as a deep-threat receiver. His speed off the line of scrimmage allows him to get downfield in a hurry and his big frame and long arms allow Fehoko to come down with contested catches more often than not. He averaged over 23 yards per reception in 2019, when he almost exclusively ran deep routes. Fehoko had an expanded route tree in 2020, which brought his average down to 15.5 yards per catch. Either way, the point remains that Fehoko was a big play machine at Stanford.
The areas of growth for Fehoko are continuing to grow as a route runner, he ran a limited route tree until last year, and getting more consistent with his hands. Drops were occasionally an issue for Fehoko, but some of that is a byproduct of being thrown so many 50/50 balls.
As good as Fehoko is, his pick probably says more about the receivers currently on the Cowboys roster. Michael Gallup is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and Amari Cooper’s contract has a potential out at the end of next season if Dallas wanted to go that route; that’s more unlikely, but they noticeably opted not to restructure Cooper’s deal this offseason, which would have eliminated that option.
To that end, Fehoko certainly seems like a Gallup replacement. Both receivers are at their best on the deep ball, and Gallup has been very productive for Dallas in that aspect. However, they know they can’t realistically afford to keep Gallup alongside Cooper, especially with CeeDee Lamb now in the fold. Fehoko can get some work in Dallas this year as a rotational guy as he hones his technique before vying for a starting spot in 2022 in the (now very) likely event that Gallup goes somewhere else in free agency next year.
But in the meantime, take a look at some of Fehoko’s best catches and just enjoy the fact that he’s now on this roster.
2020 1st Team All-Pac-12 Selection— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) April 27, 2021
16 REC, 230 YRD & 3 TD in Final Career Game
23.6 YPC in 2019 - 2nd in FBS that Season
Upon arrival in the @NFL, it will be noticeable how elite Simi Fehoko’s ball skills are.#BackThePac | @StanfordFball | @PacPremierBank pic.twitter.com/4emZg94PnQ