There are two things that are true about this offseason. First, the wide receiver group in free agency this year was and still is very underwhelming. That’s one of the reasons it was so important for the Dallas Cowboys to re-sign Amari Cooper. Finding any semblance of a replacement for Cooper was going to be near impossible in free agency. Second, the 2020 NFL Draft class is incredibly deep at wide receiver with players as late as round four that could potentially step in and help the Dallas Cowboys right away.
Therefore, if those two things are true, it’s pretty much time to quit looking at free agency as a way to reinforce your wide receiver group by solving your slot wide receiver problem. There isn’t a player in free agency that would make you feel so comfortable that you’d forgo selecting one in the draft.
Interestingly, the Dallas Cowboys have some flexibility with how they attack the draft when it comes to the wide receiver position. Because of Amari Cooper’s route-running ability and size, he could be utilized in the slot when the team utilizes three and four wide receiver sets if the Cowboys wanted to draft a wide receiver that was more of an outside guy like a Ceedee Lamb out of Oklahoma or Michael Pittman out of USC.
If they wanted a guy that had some inside-outside flexibility similar to Cooper, they could go after a player like Jerry Jeudy in the first round of the draft. Jeudy, like Cooper, is a quick and savvy route runner who is able to create separation and make plays with the football after the catch. Jeudy’s ability to play in the slot would allow the Dallas Cowboys to mix and match their wide receiver personnel, keeping defenses off balance and finding mismatches in the secondary.
K.J. Hill out of Ohio State in the second or third round or Devin Duvernay out of Texas in the fourth are guys that could be starting slot receivers for the Cowboys. With holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, it seems all but unlikely that the Cowboys use a first on a wide receiver. They would need to look deeper into the draft to find players that can be effective slot receivers. Hill and Duvernay both fit that mold. if you didn’t want to expend a first-round pick at the wide receiver position.
Generally, I’d be much more inclined to look to a veteran to fill a need, especially at wide receiver where the transition from college to the NFL can be a difficult one. However, with the lack of talent available in the free agency pool at this point, I’m much more inclined to go into the draft looking to fill out my wide receiver corp or see what the guys on the roster have.
With Devin Smith, Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, and Vontrelle Bryant, the Cowboys have options similar to the talent you can find in free agency this year. So, if they’re looking to add a wide receiver to this mix, they’d be much better served doing so in the draft.