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Projecting which Cowboys wide receivers make the final roster

As the Cowboys progress through training camp. it becomes clearer who will make the final roster. Let’s predict the wide receiver room.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Dallas Cowboys continue working through training camp, players will have the ability to make their case for making the final 53-man roster. This year, the NFL has a different ruling on how teams are expected to make these cuts. In previous years, teams were given staggered dates to increasingly reduce their roster to the 53-man limit. Last year there were three separate deadlines teams were expected to follow. This season, the team has one specific date where it must go from 90 players to the final 53. This date is set for August 29.

While there are several position groups that have active competition, the wide receiver room is an especially intriguing one. Assuming the Cowboys will carry just six wide receivers on the roster, there will be a difficult decision to be made. Let’s make a projection on which six receivers the Cowboys will choose.

The three locks:

There are three wide receivers on the Cowboys who are most certainly locked into the final 53-man roster. CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Gallup. Lamb, the team’s rising star, is looking to build off of his stellar 2022 campaign. With a contract extension on the horizon, Lamb is projected to have an even better year in 2023.

The Cowboys added something they lacked at the wide receiver position when they traded for Brandin Cooks this offseason. True deep-threat speed. The veteran receiver has made a successful career off of his elite deep-threat ability throughout his nine-year career. Cooks figures to be a great complement to Lamb, and a reliable target for QB Dak Prescott.

It’s no secret that Michael Gallup had a rough 2022 season. Working his way back from a season-ending injury in 2021, Gallup never quite found his footing throughout last season. Regardless, Gallup has shown his elite ability to come down with dazzling catches throughout his tenure in Dallas. Gallup surely deserves one more season to prove he can get back to his pre-injury form. It is fair to note that it may be a make-or-break season for the wideout as the Cowboys have a potential out in his contract next offseason.

Two likely candidates:

There are two young wide receivers on the Cowboys roster that shouldn’t quite be considered “locks” to make the final roster, but still be viewed as likely to not be cut. Jalen Tolbert and KaVontae Turpin. WR Jalen Tolbert had a rookie season he would like to forget in 2022. The third-round pick from South Alabama was essentially a non-factor for the Cowboys throughout last season. He only received three targets all of last season. With that said, Tolbert has been putting the work in this offseason to take the next step. He has been impressing in training camp, and attributing a lot of his success to the veterans around him.

“I asked (Cooks) everything I could think of,” Tolbert told Bri Amaranthus in an exclusive interview. “He’s a great leader, teammate and person ... Having him as a veteran guy in the room to take me under his wing is special.”

As non-effective as Tolbert was last season, it doesn’t make much sense for the front office to release a third-round pick entering his sophomore season. It is fair to assume Tolbert makes the final roster.

The Cowboys found a gem in WR/KR KaVontae Turpin last season. The USFL standout made an instant impact for Dallas as a returner last season. While he was unable to bring any of his returns back for a touchdown, he was selected to his first career Pro Bowl for his efficiency as a returner. Despite fans hoping to see more from Turpin as a receiver, former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore rarely used Turpin on the offensive side of the ball.

Turpin has been considerably more active as a receiver in this year’s camp. With head coach Mike McCarthy calling the plays, there is a chance we could see Turpin’s speed utilized more on the offense. Regardless, he provides an elite presence as a kick/punt returner, something that can’t be said for the other five receivers on this list. It is a safe bet to assume he makes the final roster.

The final spot goes to....

The biggest question mark in projecting the receiving unit for the final roster is the sixth spot. Coming into training camp, it seemed likely that third-year WR Simi Fehoko would claim that spot. Fehoko is familiar with the team, and was said to have developed some chemistry with Dak Prescott this offseason. However, Fehoko has been overshadowed in training camp by an unlikely seventh-round pick. WR Jalen Brooks, a rookie from South Carolina, has had a tremendous camp. Brooks drew praise from McCarthy leading up to padded practices.

“Very good,” McCarthy said, when asked about his early impression of Brooks. “I’m impressed with how fast he’s picked it up. He’s definitely a natural with it. I’m excited to see him in pads.”

Brooks has only solidified his play throughout padded practices, coming down with several nice catches.

In this clip, he makes a nice grab in the back of the end zone over star CB Trevon Diggs.

Despite his impressive work as a receiver, it is vital that Brooks makes an impact on special teams if he is to make the final roster. He got off to a great start in his first work at special teams in practice.

Given what we have yet to see from Fehoko throughout his tenure in Dallas, and the impressive display Brooks has shown in camp, Brooks should make the final roster.

The complete list:

The final six wide receivers who make the 53-man roster should look like this.

  • CeeDee Lamb
  • Brandin Cooks
  • Michael Gallup
  • Jalen Tolbert
  • KaVontae Turpin
  • Jalen Brooks

This is a wide receiver room that should give the Cowboys enough talent and versatility to have a potent offense in the 2023 season.

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