Okay, we want you to make a list.
Run through all the position groups of the Dallas Cowboys and write down all the areas that you are concerned with. Are you worried about the Cowboys' offensive tackle depth? We get that, and that is why we’ve talked about it here, here, and even here. How about the team’s wide receiver group? With no more Amari Cooper and a recovering Michael Gallup, does that stress you out a bit?
The Cowboys' front office believes they have all the answers and those answers are typically found in their own guys. Whether it’s brand new draft picks or players from a year ago who are developing, the team is content with rolling with who they have. The hope is that these youngsters start showing signs that they can actually step in and make a meaningful contribution to this football team. Although it’s early, we are already seeing a glimpse of those signs as a couple of young wide receivers are turning heads in training camp.
The excitement for Tolbert came early as he is viewed as a third-round steal from April’s draft. He’s coming off two straight 1,000-yard seasons at South Alabama and has some impressive tape. Tolbert’s skills are plentiful like Gallup before him, and he’s a jack of all trades. He’s not a route-running ace, but his varying pace keeps defenders guessing and Tolbert is very clean out of his breaks. He’s also not a blazer, but possesses decent speed and has that extra gear to sneak off vertically. And let’s not forget his body control and ability to win against contested throws.
Tolbert is off to a great start. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is already raving about his new receiving weapon, talking about how prepared the rookie has been. He said that Tolbert has “worked his tail off” and loves his attention to detail.
Where he fits in this offense: Ultimately, Tolbert will be the team’s WR3 with CeeDee Lamb and Gallup ahead of him, but he’ll get chances early and often with Gallup missing the first part of the season. His versatility to play anywhere provides the team with additional flexibility as they sort through the rest of their depth.
His strengths are on full display: He does a lot of good things, but he’s an excellent ball tracker and his ball adjustment is pro level. These traits have already been on display at camp.
Rookie WR Jalen Tolbert with his first splashy play of training camp pic.twitter.com/aa21MXzbfL— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) July 27, 2022
A pet cat of many a year ago, Vasher was one of the favorite undrafted free agent signings from 2021. A knee injury during his last year at Texas Tech caused teams to pass on him in the draft, but he drew the Cowboys' interest. Since he was still recovering from his knee injury the team had the luxury of stashing him on injured reserve last year. But now, the 6’5” receiver is finally getting his chance to shine.
Vasher is one of many fighting for a bottom spot on the roster. With players like Simi Fehoko, Brandon Smith, and [enter your favorite sleeper WR here], there’s some healthy competition going on. Even USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin offers some blazing speed to be a weapon in this offense.
Where he fits in this offense: Vasher does come with some limited value as he doesn’t posses that suddenness you’d want from a receiver trying to create separation. And despite his length, he isn’t able to use his hands to keep defenders at bay. His long strides do make him a vertical option and his size makes him a great end zone target. Vasher needs to excel at his strengths to justify keeping him around as a luxury weapon, but if the team needs more versatility out of their bottom roster WR, it could spell bad news for him.
His strengths are on full display: His size and catch radius has been his bread and butter as it’s filled up the highlight reel in college, but now he’s getting his chance at the pros as his one-handed touchdown catch is the best play in training camp thus far.
This is why people are excited about TJ Vasher. Goodness what a snag. pic.twitter.com/FcRdlMz1MI— David Helman (@davidhelman_) July 29, 2022
We’re only through the first week of training camp and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s favorable hearing positive things like this already. This is where it all starts as these are promising signs pointing towards a wide receiving position group that might be a little better than some expected in 2022.