We all have our different opinions of Dez Bryant. To some he’s an overdramatic, unfocused receiver who has a lot of maturing to do both on and off-the-field. To others he is a receiver that has a freakish combination of size, speed and natural ability that gives him limitless potential. And of course, those are those who think a little in the middle.
There are various ways and varying levels in which fans or others express these opinions.
Common phrases like “Dez will never be Irvin” or “He just doesn’t want it bad enough” have echoed throughout Cowboys Nation. However, no one has been more critical of Dez Bryant than the other two legendary receivers who happened to wear #88 in Dallas.
Irvin has publicly scrutinized Bryant on NFL Network through times of struggle and really hasn’t given praise to Bryant in times of success. He’s quick to point out how Bryant has been undisciplined in his route running and afraid to dominate a game.
As the second half of 2012 came along, so did a new Bryant. He started to take over games and ultimately evolved into one of, if not the most, dangerous receivers in the game.
This made me think, how does Bryant stack up to Irvin and Drew Pearson at this point in their careers?
Here are the numbers:
When using a sample size of the first three years of each receivers career, the numbers aren’t even close.
Now, I get the argument that the league has evolved into more of a passing league but you still have to remember that Irvin and Pearson had Aikman and Staubach who were, in their eras, elite quarterbacks who eventually made the Hall of Fame.
Is Bryant better than the other two? Probably not but you can’t ignore the success he’s had through a very tough and inconsistent first three years.
The point here is very simple, despite Bryant’s early maturity issues he has proven to be a talented young wide receiver. If given time, opportunity and good health, I believe his career projection is pointing towards the sky with an eventual landing spot along side Irvin and Pearson in the Hall of Fame.
Lofty expectations? Maybe. But after a hellacious tear through the second half season there is belief that Bryant could become the best receiver in the league.
After that? Only Dez himself knows.