Life without Amari Cooper is becoming more and more likely as fans of the Dallas Cowboys brace themselves for his release. The veteran receiver was once believed to be the Dak-friendly piece of the offense that was missing after the team moved on from Dez Bryant. Younger, more fundamentally sound, and polar opposite in terms of emotional disposition, Cooper seemed like the perfect fit. But that was then, this is now.
Without Cooper on this team, the Cowboys will need to revamp their wide receiver group. They have a young star in CeeDee Lamb who already has over 2,000 yards receiving which is the second-most from his draft class trailing only Justin Jefferson. Having Lamb on the roster is a good start. The team is also working to re-sign Michael Gallup to a second contract. Keeping him would help immensely.
Regardless of how things play out in free agency, the team should be looking to capitalize on a very deep wide receiver class in the upcoming draft. There are good players to be found all throughout the draft, and today we’re going to identify three receivers who could make an immediate impact.
ROUND ONE: Chris Olave, Ohio State
There are five receivers who have been grouped together as the elite guys in this draft class. In no particular order, they include Drake London (USC), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama), Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), and Treylon Burks (Arkansas). There are a lot of different opinions about who is better than who, and any of these guys could find their way to 24.
While teammate Garrett Wilson gets a lot more hype, Chris Olave is one of the surest picks of the first round. For starters, he’s an exceptional route-runner so the Cowboys can replace one fundamentally sound player with another. Olave doesn’t have the flashiness that Wilson has, but he’s so smooth, shows great concentration, and is a remarkable separator. Olave isn’t necessary a burner, but that doesn’t mean he can’t run as he was one of just eight receivers who ran a sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Everything he displayed in Indy lined up perfectly with what we’ve seen on tape. He’s spectacular.
Olave checks off all the boxes. He’s a high-character guy who could step in and immediately challenge Lamb for the WR1 spot. Having those two together would give the Cowboys one of the top WR duos in the league.
ROUND TWO: Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
A lot is going to happen before pick 24 rolls around and it’s hard to know what top players will be available at that spot. Based on who’s left, the team can go a lot of different directions with their most precious draft pick. Maybe one of the better edge rushers slide or an instant starter who could beef up the offensive line makes it that far? If the Cowboys don’t land one of the top-tier receivers in this draft, that’s okay. There are some great options in round two.
The Bearcat’s Alec Pierce has been a pet cat of mine since I started my film study and we’ve already mentioned him as a possible replacement for Gallup. There is so much to love about this guy as he has great size and ball skills. It’s really impressive that a guy his size is able to come out of his breaks so well. The athletic measurements were impressive including the top vertical (40.5”) of anyone at the combine. And did we mention, he can fly?
Pierce’s upside is intriguing, but he also has a floor that would be a nice complementary piece to Lamb on this offense.
ROUND THREE - Christian Watson, North Dakota State
If the Cowboys don’t find what they want in the first two rounds, that’s okay. This receiving class still has plenty to offer past the first 60 picks. Similar to Pierce, Watson is a big dude with an amazing catch radius. He’s actually bigger and faster than Pierce and his 40 time was faster than both the Ohio State boys. Watson is a homerun threat in the passing game and has incredible leaps to win on 50/50 balls. His 136” broad jump was the best of all the players at the combine.
Have yourself a day, Christian Watson pic.twitter.com/pV1jTr7OFu— Corey Seeley (@coreyalex) March 4, 2022
Watson has the skills to hear his name called a round earlier, but with so many other talented receivers, it’s not unreasonable to believe he falls into round three. Having a player like that line up opposite Lamb will help keep defenses honest as they’ll have to respect the deep ball.
Would you be happy if the Cowboys selected one of these players?
Which scenario would you prefer?
This poll is closed
Chris Olave in Round 1
Alec Pierce in Round 2
Christian Watson in Round 3