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Earning Their Star: Which WRs Will Make The Cowboys 53 Man Roster?

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Fantasy Football Outlook: Wide Receivers

In the midst of OTAs and with training camp quickly approaching, the Dallas Cowboys are getting their first looks at a lot of the new players on the roster. The team focused heavily on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason, but one position on offense that they worked on is wide receiver.

The Cowboys are currently jam-packed with bodies and a lot of talent at wide receiver.

That depth chart looks a little something like this:

  1. Dez Bryant 
  2. Terrance Williams
  3. Cole Beasley
  4. Brice Butler
  5. Ryan Switzer
  6. Andy Jones
  7. Lucky Whitehead
  8. Noah Brown
  9. Brian Brown
  10. Quincy McDuffie
  11. Uzoma Nwachukwu

Of course, not all of these guys will make the team, but in previous years the Cowboys went a little light at receiver.

In 2016 the Cowboys went into the season with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, and Lucky Whitehead. Could 2017 be the year we see six receivers? Could even more make the 53 man roster?

Sorting Out Wide Receiver Roles

When we look at who is a lock to make the team we, of course, know that Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Ryan Switzer are almost certain to make the team.

Could The Cowboys Keep 6 Wide Receivers?

Nov 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams (83) and wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) and wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) before the game against the Carolina Panthers game on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams are veteran receivers who don’t play much of a special teams role at all. We all have dreamed about the idea of having Dez return punts like he did in his rookie season, but that ship has sailed. Terrance Williams is a quality #2 receiver and isn’t asked to do much on the special teams side of the ball.

But Ryan Switzer and Cole Beasley are different stories.

Both, Ryan Switzer and Cole Beasley will play a role in the kicking game this season.

Which Cowboys' Rookie Will Have The Best 2017 Season?

Switzer was drafted in the fourth round by the Cowboys to be a difference maker. While Switzer is showing early signs that he can do just that on offense, the coaching staff had other ideas when they turned in his card.

Ryan Switzer was one of, if not the most productive punt returner in college football throughout his career.

Switzer finished his career at North Carolina with 99 punt returns for 1,082 yards (10.9 YPR) and seven touchdowns. Switzer’s vision in the open field, shiftiness to break tackles, and quick feet make him a nightmare to locate and bring down in the open field.

Is Lucky’s Luck Running Out?

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Leave Lucky Whitehead In Dallas, Won't Play Giants On SNF

With Switzer likely taking over as the team’s punt returner, Cole Beasley being a big weapon on offense who also handed a good amount of punt return reps last year, Lucky Whitehead’s future with the team is looking rather bleak.

Whitehead was brought in as a UDFA in 2015 and won the hearts of many fans with his charming attitude, interactions with the fans, and funny snap chat videos. What Lucky has yet to do is make any real impact on the football field.

Whitehead has been the primary kick returner and has slowly let Cole Beasley take punt returns away from him due to his lack of production and propensity to fumble. Whitehead doesn’t offer much on offense, just the occasional jet sweep, which is something Ryan Switzer can do just as good, if not better with his running back background.

To make matters worse for Lucky’s chances, he is currently dealing with a hamstring injury that is keeping him out of OTAs. Whitehead’s off the field issues, injury concerns, and lack of production may have his days in Dallas numbered.

What To Do With Brice Butler?

Brice Butler, Packers

Brice Butler is a tough evaluation. The Cowboys acquired Butler with a fifth round pick in November, 2015 to the Raiders after Dez Bryant went down with an injury. Butler hasn’t really disappointed or impressed; he has been an average down-the -depth-chart receiver since joining the team.

Butler has been given the title as the Cowboys’ best deep threat, but we have yet to see him win in that way consistently. In his two years with Dallas, Butler has hauled in 28 catches for 477 yards and three touchdowns in a limited role.

Even with this stat line, the Cowboys decided to give Brice Butler a one year, $1.1 million contract in the offseason.

That means the team has to save him a roster spot right?

Wrong.

Butler’s contract is so small that if he doesn’t perform well in training camp or one of the younger receivers out-play him, the team can simply cut Butler and only lose $300,000.

The ball is in Butler’s court.

Taking A Shot With A Young Gun

Like I mentioned earlier, the Cowboys depth chart is loaded this offseason. Rookies Noah Brown and Brian Brown have a lot of work to do to make this roster, but I have a feeling at least one of them will.

Noah Brown

Cowboys Draft: Scouting 7th Round WR Noah Brown

Noah Brown was one of three draft picks the team had in the seventh round of this year’s draft and I think they got quiet the steal in the former Ohio State Buckeye.

Noah Brown is a big dude, standing at 6’2 220 lbs, and that’s exactly how he plays.

Brown was supposed to be the #1 target for the Buckeyes going into the 2016 season, but he struggled to get things going. Brown had 32 catches for 402 yards and seven touchdowns in his sophomore season.

Noah Brown’s style of play is very similar to that of Dez Bryant. Both players use their size and physicality to high-point the ball and bring down contested catches. Brown’s upside may force the team to stash him on the roster, because I don’t like the chances of trying to get him to the practice squad.

Brian Brown

Brian Brown - Wide Receiver

Brian Brown is a player I am very familiar with. Brown attended the University of Richmond, which is about a 10-minute walk from my house. With Virginia Tech and University of Virginia a ways away from me, and getting most of the college football hype, it was nice to have a player drafted right out of my back yard.

But don’t worry, I am not including Brian Brown in this article just because of where he played, this kid can ball!

With all the bodies at the position right now, Brian will have to go above and beyond to make this team, but don’t count him out. He finished his senior season with 81 receptions, 1,485 yards, and 11 touchdowns.

Brown has a knack for making some pretty ridiculous catches and creating separation at the top of his routes.

Andy Jones

Andy Jones

WR Andy Jones (Paul Spinelli via AP)

Every year we all fall in love with a player in training camp and believe he will be the next savior. Last year that guy was Andy Jones. Jones made a name for himself last year in OTAs and training camp, but struggled in the preseason.

Andy Jones landed on the practice squad last year and is out working hard again early in the offseason programs this year.

Both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott have commented on how much potential he has and how much he has grown from his rookie season. We will see when the lights come on in the preseason if Andy Jones can finally earn his star.

Final Prediction

My final prediction has the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers on their final 53 man roster, while sending two receivers to the practice squad and cutting three.

Final 53 Man Roster

  1. Dez Bryant
  2. Terrance Williams
  3. Cole Beasley
  4. Ryan Switzer
  5. Brice Butler
  6. Noah Brown

Practice Squad

  1. Brice Brown
  2. Andy Jones

Cut

  1. Lucky Whitehead
  2. Quincy McDuffie
  3. Uzoma Nwachukwu

Fantasy Football Blog - Cowboys 2015 Fantasy Football Outlook: Wide Receivers

I decided to keep six receivers for a few reasons.

Dez Bryant seems to miss games every year and Brice Butler usually fills in nicely for him, but keeping Noah Brown gives the Cowboys another option to plug-in if an injury or lack of production pushes another player down the depth chart.

Carrying six wide receivers likely means the Cowboys will have to go short somewhere else on offense. Whether it’s just keeping two quarterbacks or maybe letting Ryan Switzer fill in as the fourth running back.

This offense was great last year and with the talent they added at wide receiver it has the potential to be even better!

Leave me your thoughts on what you think the Dallas Cowboys 2017 wide receiver depth chart should look like.

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Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @connorx147 !

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8 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    Cowboys typically only keep 5, soo I’m guessing Dez, Williams, Beasley, Switzer, Brown or Butler

    They keep Butler for simply being familiar with the offense or they like Brown enough in preseason they keep him. Switzer and Brown were drafted to replace Whitehead and Butler. Whitehead is definitely out, while Butler has a chance to beat out the rookie.

  • Randy Martin

    I cringe every time I see an article about Dallas Cowboys receivers because I feel another writer is going to misrepresent who Brice Butler is.

    “Dez Bryant seems to miss games every year and Brice Butler usually fills in nicely for him”. Can you give me the data to support this. People just throw this out and expect people to believe it. I’ve watched the games and studied the game logs and it just isn’t true! In 2 seasons Butler has caught 28 of 58 targets! That is a 48% completion rate my friend and that is horrible! It is sub-average! In 4 seasons, including 2 in Oakland, where he could not start when Oakland was hungry to find any receiver that could play, he has never had more than 280 yards receiving and shown absolutely no growth or development. If they only keep 5 receivers I don’t see one of them being Butler unless he flips a switch.

    • Kevin Black

      I’ve seen “Brice Butler usually fills in for him.” I’ve never seen ‘nicely’ put in there before. If they did, then they aren’t watching how many times Brice drops the ball.

    • #demboyz

      I agree!! I cringe when they would put him in the game; he’s the pits!!

  • dallas1966

    I think the Cowboys will draft wide receiver again in 2018.

  • Kevin Black

    Cowboys will go long due to having Noah Brown. He can be groomed to replace Dez when his contract is up or at least be a better backup than Brice Butler who you only have for one more season.

  • #demboyz

    Brian Brown is a keeper!!! He has great hands; runs beautiful routes; and has football smarts!! I watched his “Silent Assassin” highlights and was impressed!!! I’m rooting for him. If Dallas doesn’t keep him, he will be swooped up by another team. He will be in the NFL!! Go, Boyz

  • #demboyz

    Great article by the way—Is the Brice Brown, you placed on the practice squad, intended to be Brian Brown?

Dallas Cowboys

Can Cowboys Trust Guard Jonathan Cooper in 2018?

Jess Haynie

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Jonathan Cooper

One of the big decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 offseason is at left guard. Veteran Jonathan Cooper started 13 games last year and is now a free agent. Should Dallas bring Cooper back, or should they look elsewhere for next season’s starter?

With a lot of money already being spent on the rest of the starting offensive line, the Cowboys need a bargain at left guard. They didn’t re-sign Ronald Leary in 2017 for that very reason, hoping Cooper or Chaz Green would be able to handle the job for a fraction of what Leary got from the Denver Broncos.

Cooper took over for Green in Week 4 and held the job the rest of the season. The Cowboys rushing attack remained one of the league’s best, even performing well later in the year when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. It looked like Jonathan could become part of future plans.

However, in Week 17, Cooper went out of the game with a knee injury. It thankfully wasn’t serious and he is expected to be ready for 2018. However, it was a reminder of the injury-plagued past that has caused the former first-round pick so much trouble.

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys Guard Jonathan Cooper

Taken seventh overall in 2013 by the Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Cooper was one of the true blue-chip guard prospects in recent draft history. He seemed like a can’t-miss pick, and interior linemen don’t often go that high in the draft. The Cowboys have even said they coveted Cooper in that class.

But constant battles with injuries caused Cooper to be traded, released, and discarded by the Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns over his first four seasons. While 2017 was looking like a turning point for him, Jonathan’s injury in the season finale was a sobering reminder of why he’s become a bargain-bin player.

Still, at just 28-years-old, Cooper has good years left and will now have another offseason for continuity and chemistry development with the Cowboys.

Dallas should have to pay more than a few million to keep Cooper on the roster.

If Dallas is leery (no pun intended) of Cooper, they will have options. La’el Collins could move back to the guard position, allowing the Cowboys to go find either the best guard or tackle who would fit with their existing group.

Given so many other considerations this offseason, Dallas will likely try to simplify things by giving Jonathan Cooper another chance. His history is a red flag, but sometimes you have to take those gambles and save salary cap space to handle other needs.

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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