The Dallas Cowboys enjoyed having Randall Cobb in the receiving mix in 2019 and unfortunately lost him in free agency. Dallas has yet to address Cobb’s departure on the roster, and one reason for that may be plans to use Running Back Tony Pollard more in the passing game.
Cobb had 55 catches for 828 yards and three touchdowns in a bounce-back season. He parlayed that performance into a nice, new deal from the Texans and left the Cowboys looking for a new #3 receiver.
While WR3 is basically a starting position in the modern NFL, having Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup ahead of him provides some cushion. Cobb had his best year since 2015 joining the Cowboys offense, and it’s reasonable to think that Dallas could get a similar reward for a modest risk.
That risk could come from someone already on the roster. Between Devin Smith, Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, and other prospects there is probably one guy that could bring adequate production with more targets.
Another option is the 2020 NFL Draft, where receiver talent runs deeper than most other positions. The Cowboys could be planning to address their WR need with one of their early picks.
But right now, in terms of talent and the need to get more touches, the 11th man on the Cowboys’ offense just might be Tony Pollard.
Pollard had a great rookie season for Dallas last year. And while his rushing production was consistent throughout 2019, Tony’s usage in the passing game saw a considerable uptick between the first and second halves of the season.
From Weeks 1-8 Pollard was only targeted four times as a receiver. From Weeks 9-17, that number shot up to 16 targets.
When Tony came into the NFL last year, many scouts and analysts were comparing him to receiver-first RBs like Darren Sproles and Andre Roberts. Pollard proved in 2019 that he is a true running back and a worthy backup to Ezekiel Elliott.
However, that doesn’t mean Pollard couldn’t be a dangerous weapon with regular receiving duties. He played WR in high school and was converted to RB in college based on his size.
With Zeke already a proven receiving threat in his own right, Dallas has the ability to throw a lot of looks at opposing defenses. They can start with both Elliott and Pollard in the backfield and then send one out into a receiving pattern, or try to confuse things with various pre-snap motions.
No, this doesn’t mean that the Cowboys shouldn’t draft a receiver early in the upcoming draft. If nothing else, they need more talent on the WR depth chart in case something happens with Cooper or Gallup.
But Dallas could’ve addressed the loss of Randall Cobb already in free agency, and some are surprised and even upset that they haven’t. A reason for that lack of activity may be the presence of Tony Pollard, who deserves more touches after his strong rookie season.
Whether they come through the air or on the ground, hopefully Pollard is a bigger part of the Cowboys’ offense in 2020.