Jalen Tolbert is a detailed player who works hard. One of his first meetings with Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was equally with purpose and intent. McCarthy relayed to reporters on May 13 during rookie minicamp one of the discussions he had with the team’s third-round receiver from South Alabama.
“These are his words: ‘I don’t know how high my ceiling is, but I think it’s going to be pretty damn high,’” McCarthy said. “And I was like, ‘Hell yeah, it’s going to be high.’”
Although Tolbert is wearing the number of current Green Bay Packers wideout Randall Cobb, who McCarthy coached from 2011-18, the comparisons Tolbert draws are to current and most recent Cowboys wideouts.
“Just watching him and Will McClay and I were talking — he reminds you on first impression as far as his moving traits, it’s somewhere kind of between CeeDee [Lamb] and Cedrick Wilson,” said McCarthy. “That’s his body type and I think that’s a great comparable, and I think that illustrates what we’re looking for when you have that type of skillset where you can come in here and have the ability to play inside and outside.”
The Cowboys are starting Tolbert off slowly. Although the master plan is to have Tolbert “learn as many spots as possible,” according to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the entry point is to focus on what he does best.
“We’ll start him in a Z-type position, maybe play him in the slot,” Moore told reporters May 13. “We’ll get him moved all around the field. We like to do that with a number of our receivers. So, we’ll do the same thing with him.”
With Lamb and Michael Gallup, who is recovering from an ACL tear, manning the outside, Tolbert would provide the Cowboys’ passing attack with an option on the inside.
McCarthy is confident Tolbert will be able to achieve the high ceiling.
“I think it depends on the individual, and just the short time I’ve been around Jalen, I think he’s going to do fine,” McCarty said.