Dallas Cowboys: Addressing the Wide Receiver Situation

The Dallas Cowboys currently do not have a number one receiver. After parting ways with Dez Bryant, Dallas knew that it was a time for a new name to be the franchise’s play maker at the wide receiver position. At this point, the Cowboys are still unsure who it’ll be but they’re doing a good job of taking their time to make the decision.

During the off-season, Dallas acquired receivers Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns. They also drafted Michael Gallup in the third round out of Colorado State University. Veterans Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams are also still around.

Beasley has always showed promise, but how much should they expect from him unless he is in a featured role as a slot receiver like the Patriots use their small, shifty guys. Beasley is coming off a bad season as he finished with only 314 receiving yards, his lowest since 2012. Beasley’s 36 catches last season are also a career-low.

Williams is certainly the favorite due to his experience in the offense, but Williams is coming off a career-low season in receiving yards (568) and was unable to find the end-zone.

Austin has the same amount of experience that Williams has but in Austin’s case he hasn’t been able to succeed due to the inability to produce the desired numbers. He was supposed to be Tyreek Hill before him. During his time with the Rams, he shifted from a runner to a catcher, being used in jet sweep plays, and he was also the team’s punt returner last season until he lost it due to fumbling issues. In Dallas’ first three preseason games, he didn’t have any punt or kickoff returns and he didn’t seen much action on the field. When Austin was acquired by Dallas, Dak Prescott expressed his excitement, calling the move “a steal”.

Prescott described Austin as a player that “can definitely help out a lot more in the passing game”. Austin has not been able to show the potential he had when he was drafted eighth overall in 2013 out of West Virginia. Now, he has the chance to live up to expectations as he’s on a new team.

The Cowboys brought in Sanjay Lal as the new wide receivers coach to work alongside offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Lal has been receiving praises from the players, indicating that he’s making progress to getting them back on track. Austin himself stated Lal helped have his best training camp ever.

Hurns’ production has dropped significantly in the past two years. After having a 1,000-yard season in 2015, his season-high in the past two years was 484 yards and he’s only scored five touchdowns. He, too, hasn’t seen much action on the field this preseason. But training camp has been going well as he and Prescott seem like they are connecting well on the field and they’re building chemistry.

Hurns’ and Austin’s future with the team will be decided after Dallas’ final preseason game against Houston. They’re both expected to make the final 53-man roster, but it’s unclear where exactly they’ll be placed.

As far as Gallup goes, he scored in Dallas’ first preseason game against San Francisco. On the opening drive, he connected with Prescott on a 30-yard touchdown catch. Gallup described the play as an act of “earning trust”.  His draft profile mentions he excels at using body control as well as timing to win contested catches downfield and he has the ability to be competitive after making a catch.

Gallup certainly has the ability to make an impact on the field. During one practice, according to Cowboys staff writer Rob Phillips, he was so impressive that it was said he was “catching everything in sight.”

While he has the chance of becoming Dallas’ next playmaker, it’ll take two or three seasons to be sure, although he’s already being described as a rising star.

Dallas wraps up their preseason on Thursday in Houston. A decision on who will be the top receiver is expected to be made before Dallas opens the season against the Carolina Panthers.

 

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