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Could WR Devin Smith be Dallas’ Next Laurent Robinson in 2020?

The Dallas Cowboys have a hole in their offense after losing Randall Cobb to the Houston Texans in free agency. While Dallas may address this wide receiver need in the upcoming NFL Draft, could another solution already be on the roster? Perhaps veteran Devin Smith can step into a larger role in 2020, much like Laurent Robinson did for the Cowboys in 2011.

Smith joined the Cowboys last year as a reclamation project after multiple knee injuries early in his career. Devin had been a high 2nd-round pick in 2015 by the Jets but was released during the 2018 offseason, then spent a year away the NFL.

Things were looking up for Smith last year after a standout preseason, then a 51-yard touchdown catch in Week 2 against Washington. But after two quiet games in the following weeks, Devin’s lack of special teams value caused him to be a healthy scratch for most of the year. Then he picked up a knee injury in December.

Sure, relying on Devin Smith in 2020 would seem foolish given his history. But there was just as much doubt when the Cowboys handed the WR3 job to Laurent Robinson nine years ago.

Like Smith, Robinson faced high expectations as a 2007 3rd-round pick but his career was fizzling by the time he reached Dallas. He failed to make final cuts with the Chargers and Dallas scooped him, having their own WR depth issues that year with only Dez Bryant and Miles Austin has reliable players.

Robinson had a big year with 54 catches for 858 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. With Austin missing six games due to injury, Laurent was not only the third receiver but ended up filling in even larger gaps in the offense at times.

That big season netted Robinson a multi-year contract with Jacksonville but he never had the same production. History now views his one year in Dallas as a credit to Tony Romo’s greatness; an anomaly thanks to Romo’s talent over Laurent’s actual ability.

3 Stars from Dallas Cowboys Win over the Washington Redskins
Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Devin Smith was a more highly regarded WR prospect in his draft class than Laurent Robinson was. That doesn’t always mean much, but it isn’t meaningless.

“If he can stay healthy” is certainly a frustrating comment but it applies here. Has Devin’s true potential been restrained by his injuries, or have his mostly quiet games revealed that he’s more of a bust than just unlucky?

Also, Dak Prescott is the quarterback now. Is he at a point now, especially with coaching changes on offense, to maximize and elevate his receivers or is he still dependent on WR talent to produce?

By the time that Tony Romo got his hands on Laurent Robinson in 2011 he’d been playing in the same system for five years. Prescott just went through the major change at Offensive Coordinator last season and now has Mike McCarthy coming in at head coach for further adjustments.

If Devin Smith does have something left to unleash in the NFL then his QB could be the deciding factor. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are there to occupy the defense, plus the concerns of Ezekiel Elliott and/or Tony Pollard coming out of the backfield. It’s a great environment for WR3 to excel, much like Randall Cobb enjoyed last year.

But in the end, the true x-factor here is Devin Smith himself. Is he someone whose body had betrayed him, or is he one of many 2nd-round picks who just didn’t have what it takes to make it in the NFL?

If the Cowboys don’t come away with a new WR from the 2020 Draft, Smith just might get a chance to find out.

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. Devin Smith was such a stud in college and that was not due to the system… he has great skill set and tracks deep ball as well as anyone I’ve seen in 10 years… from the slot he will expose safeties and his YAC will be amazing!

    Rooting for him for sure!

  2. To anyone who has not seen Devin Smith before, this kid is a stud!!! I watched him in college and he was a beast running down the deep ball!!! I hope he earns a spot to show people how good he can be!! Rooting for him as well!! Go get em Cowboy!!

  3. I remember Robinson “going long” on scramble plays when Romo had to leave the pocket once the blocking had broken down.Those were very exciting plays! Can we get that back in the play book please.

  4. I believe Devin Smith can be that guy in the slot!! I wanted to see more of him last season but we all know that didn’t happen!! But I think if he’s given the chance to play in the slot this season he can prove he can be the 3rd receiver!! We could even switch him and Cooper around on some plays!! Having Cooper in the slot would open things up for Smith and/or Gallup on the outside!! It could be the same thing with Cooper and Gallup on the outside…. That could open things up for Smith in the slot!! It’s definitely worth trying out!!

  5. Maybe with new management Smith will get a fair shot. He can do it all. Probably fastest receiver on the team. Garrett was terrible at giving people a shot. He was just doing the same thing over and over every game. So glad the Red Freak is gone. The Giants will be Sorry.

  6. Without a shadow of doubt Devin Smith has what it takes to be a first string WR for the Cowboys.. I have watched Devin his whole career never misses one of his high school games nor any at OSU .. He is a deep threat just get the ball to him ..

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