Over the last year the Dallas Cowboys have been rebuilding their wide receiver core from the Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler group that dominated the wide receiver room from the end of the Tony Romo era through the first couple years of the Dak Prescott era.
Last offseason, Dez Bryant was released and so far this offseason, Brice Butler was allowed to walk, then signed after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals and then cut after just a couple of weeks with the team. The Dallas Cowboys have released Terrance Williams to continue the wide receiver rebuild and Cole Beasley is expected to walk in free agency for the opportunity at more opportunities and more money.
The wide receiver room is now led by Amari Cooper, acquired in the middle of the 2018 season for the Cowboys first round pick, and Michael Gallup, drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
As the Cowboys continue reshaping their wide receiver group to better fit this new era of quarterbacking they will likely look to the draft to fill out their depth chart ahead of the 2019 season. In this year's version of the draft, there are a lot of really good players that will be taken in the second and third rounds that could interest the Dallas Cowboys and complement their current group of receivers really well.
Here are five wide receivers that could be available when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock at number 58.
Marquise Brown, WR, University of Oklahoma
If you were allowed to take one trait at wide receiver and add it to the Dallas Cowboys for the 2019 season, I think many of you would take a wide receiver who has the speed to take the top off of the defense. Let me introduce you to Marquise Brown.
There are several players in this draft that have speed, but none use their speed and change of speed quite like Marquise Brown from the University of Oklahoma. For two seasons, he constantly was able to get behind defenses, even though they knew what a threat he was.
In his two years at OU, Brown finished with two 1,000 yard seasons. Last year he finished with 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 17.6 yards per reception. For his career, Brown averaged 18.3 yards per reception and 8.5 touchdowns in his two years.
With his speed, he's a player that could go as early as the late first round, because speed is a very difficult trait to replicate.
Read my full scouting report on Marquise Brown.
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
No player did more for their reputation at the Senior Bowl than South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel. He's being looked at as a player that could step in and help the Dallas Cowboys in the slot. He provides good route running and hands.
At 5-11, 214 pounds, Samuel has the build to be an effective player over the middle of the field and the quickness to find open space. While his 3-cone drill only landed him in the 35th percentile among wide receivers, his 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle landed him in the mid-60th percentile.
In his senior season, Samuel caught 62 passes for 882 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 12 game. Like Marquise Brown and many of the other wide receivers that could be available in the second round, Samuel could also be a late first round option as well.
Read Kevin Brady's Scouting report on Deebo Samuel.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Size and strength is another quality that the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver group doesn't have. Iowa State's Hakeem Butler has that in spades. He's strong at the catch point and has the strength to win 50-50 battles for the ball.
He's excellent catching back shoulder fades and running down the sideline. Hakeem Butler's huge frame gives his quarterback a lot to work with. Generally when we see a player that has the size and production that Butler has, you're talking about a first round talent.
Other than running back David Montgomery, the Iowa State offense had very little talent, but was able to keep pace with a lot of their Big 12 counterparts because of the play of Hakeem Butler. If you go back and watch the Oklahoma game, it's one highlight catch after another. He made the Sooners look like a bad high school team that day. The way Butler's able to out jump everyone as well as run by a lot of his defenders is impressive. He has strong hands that make it difficult for defensive backs to rip the ball away after the catch.
His final season at Iowa State, he averaged 22 yards per reception on 60 catches to go along with 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns.
At 6-6, 225, he provides an excellent red zone and jump ball weapon for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys offense. With his impressive combine performance (4.49 in the 40-yard dash), he may not be available in the second round. However, with how deep the NFL Draft is, you never know who could fall.
Andy Isabella, WR, University of Massachusetts
If there is a player that isn't projected to be a first round pick that has become a fan and analyst favorite, it's University of Massachusetts Wide Receiver Andy Isabella. He's a diminutive, but speedy receiver that won all over the field in college.
He was very productive in his senior season, catching 102 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the two seasons prior to his electric senior season, Isabella he caught at least 62 passes each year and averaged 910 yards receiving and 8.5 touchdowns.
He an electric player that can be a slot receiver, but also adds a dimension in the deep passing game as well as the return game because of his speed. His size will remind people of Ryan Switzer, but he's a faster player than the former Cowboys wide receiver.
Read Brian Martin's scouting report on Andy Isabella.
Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State University
Of all the players in this bunch, there may not be a player that will be available to the Dallas Cowboys at 58 with as much athleticism as Ohio State University Wide Receiver Parris Campbell.
Campbell combines size and speed at 6-1, 208 pounds, while running a 40-yard dash that put him in the 96th percentile among wide receivers. Not only did he test really well in the athletic measurables, Campbell brings really good production along with him.
In 2018, Campbell caught 90 passes for the Buckeyes for 1,063 and 12 touchdowns. In his first two years of playing regular time in 2016 and 2017, the Buckeyes gave him some carries too and he averaged more than 13 yards per carry on 14 rushes over those two seasons. As a returner his sophomore and junior season, he averaged 27.8 and 36.6 yards per kick return.
Campbell has the athleticism and quickness to have a year-one impact for the Dallas Cowboys in the slot and could be the guy they go to for their jet sweeps.
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As things stand now, the Dallas Cowboys could use some more speed at the wide receiver position and this draft is loaded with guys that can threaten a defense vertically. Even Hakeem Butler, who brings imposing size and strength has the speed to stretch the defense. At pick number 58, the Cowboys are going to have options available to them. Perhaps a couple of these guys could be available when they pick at number 90 in the third round. This draft may not be heavy on guys that are projected to be taken in the first round, but there are a lot of options for them to get a guy that can provide another dynamic element to this young offense.
What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019
In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.
Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.
The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?
Let's take a look.
As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.
Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.
As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.
Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.
Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.
There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.
Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.
While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.
Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.
In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.
Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.
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The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.
With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.
Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka
As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with
The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.
It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.
The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.
Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.
Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.
Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Needs: Impact of Free Agency Moves & Rumors
With most of the marquee NFL free agents already off the market, many are already turning their eyes to the 2019 Draft. Whether a glaring need went unaddressed or the needs have simply changed, the draft offers the next big opportunity for teams like the Dallas Cowboys to stock talent for next season.
While they've been conservative so far this offseason, Dallas has been active in the last few days in covering bases and giving itself more flexibility for the draft. They don't want to have to reach on a talent because of a need, nor do they want to tip their hand too much to the rest of the league.
As of now there are still some significant acquisitions that could happen. Dallas has visited with veteran Safety Eric Berry and Defensive Lineman Malik McDowell, plus are reportedly in trade talks with Miami for Defend End Robert Quinn. Any of these moves could have a big impact on their need levels for the draft.
We've already seen some changes thanks to offseason activity. With Tuesday's signing of Randall Cobb, plus moves to retain Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns, Dallas may not be looking at a receiver as early as we might've thought. The same can be said for Jason Witten's return and the tight end position.
If the draft were today, without accounting for any of the players that the Cowboys have had talks with but remain unsigned, here's how I would rank the team's 2019 draft needs:
- Defensive End
- Defensive Tackle
- Tight End
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
- Offensive Tackle
- Quarterback (Mike White is their drafted backup project for at least another year.)
- Punter (Could add someone to compete with Chris Jones and save some cap dollars.)
- Fullback (They re-signed Jamize Olawale, who they barely use anyway. Zero need here.)
I put safety on top because it's the spot that could most use an immediate upgrade and has some pressing future need. Dallas didn't make the big move for Earl Thomas that many hoped for and Jeff Heath's contract expires after this season. Hopefully, a second-round talent could compete for a starting job now and at least replace Heath in 2020.
Even with the Kerry Hyder signing defensive end has some major red flags. DeMarcus Lawrence has sworn he would holdout without a long-term deal. Randy Gregory is suspended again, and now Tyrone Crawford is now facing potential league action from an incident with police last week. Unless the Cowboys think Taco Charlton is going to make a big push in his third year, they could be hurting for a pass rush in 2019.
I expect things with Lawrence will get resolved, and I doubt Crawford will get suspended for more than a game or two if at all. But Dallas could still use another solid DE if they don't get this deal for Robert Quinn done.
Remember, the 2019 Cowboys aren't working with a first-round pick. Barring a trade, they'll be waiting until the 58th pick to make their first selection. That limits the impact potential of their picks and makes what they do with the Day 2 picks all the more critical.
So what if the Cowboys pull off these three potential moves, adding Berry, McDowell, and Quinn? Each player would help to address the top three needs on my list.
Eric Berry hopefully solves the immediate upgrade need at safety, though it may not do much for the future. He turns 31 this year and was released by Kansas City because of multiple injury issues. Dallas could still consider taking a rookie prospect, perhaps even releasing Jeff Heath for cap savings if needed.
Malik McDowell was considered a first-round talent in 2017 but has never played after a major ATV accident prior to his first training camp with Seattle. If he's finally recovered enough to return to football and play at his original potential, he could give Dallas a talent infusion that none of their draft capital could provide.
Robert Quinn has been around a while but will be just 29 in May, and is still putting up sacks at a solid rate. He's averaged 7.5 sacks the last two years with two different teams. He would go a long way to stabilizing things at defensive end and allowing Dallas look at guys like Gregory and Hyder as icing on the cake.
If Dallas lands all three players then I would adjust the list as follows:
- Tight End
- Defensive Tackle
- Running Back
- Defensive End
- Wide Receiver
If you think about it, the safety and tight end positions would be kind of similar in this scenario. You'd have Eric Berry and Jason Witten as the veteran stopgaps, Xavier Woods and Blake Jarwin as intriguing young guys with starting potential, and Kavon Frazier and Dalton Schultz as other young depth.
However, at every step, safety would be deeper and have more upside. Berry should have more to often than Witten, Woods is more proven than Jarwin, and Frazier is more experienced than Schultz.
Plus, we didn't even mention that you'd have Jeff Heath for experience and versatility at safety. Meanwhile, TE Rico Gathers probably won't be on next year's team.
So yes, I'd vault tight end to the top of the need list. Dallas may like Blake Jarwin but they could find a far more polished and talented player with the 58th pick.
Even with McDowell and Christian Covington added to the mix, Dallas would still be wise to address the defensive tackle position. They have several contract issues coming up at once in 2020.
Covington and Maliek Collins will be unrestricted free agents next year. The Cowboys will also likely want to finally shed Tyrone Crawford's contract, with $8 million in cap relief possible. That would leave them pretty bare at defensive tackle.
Dallas could make a move now to solidify their rotation and prepare for the future. They'd have a little more stability at defensive end with assumed multi-year deals for Lawrence and Quinn, making tackle the more immediate concern.
The backup running back spot can't be ignored, with only Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn currently signed behind Ezekiel Elliott. If Dallas doesn't bring back Rod Smith between now and the draft, they may want to spend a high pick for Zeke's relief man and an additional offensive weapon.
Elliott's own contract will be up for discussion as soon. Having a talented player with a four-year rookie deal behind him could give the Cowboys much-needed leverage in any future talks with their franchise back.
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We'll see if Dallas lands any of the players we've hypothesized about. Any of them would help lessen the need at their positions, but those would still remain important areas for the Cowboys to look at in the upcoming draft.
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