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Punt Return Ability Gives Cedrick Wilson an Edge in Cowboys WR Competion

The Dallas Cowboys’ depth chart at wide receiver has a lot of uncertainty after the top three players. One of the early leaders to make the team and perhaps be the fourth WR is Cedrick Wilson, and a big help to his cause is the potential to serve as Dallas’ punt returner in 2020.

The Cowboys let Tavon Austin hit the open market in free agency and he remains unsigned. While the team might consider bringing him back in a specialist role, they’d much rather find a player who can consistently help on offense while also handling return duties.

Cedrick Wilson, a 6th-Round pick in 2018, may have that dual potential. He hasn’t gotten many opportunities the last two years, thanks mostly to a shoulder injury which cost him his rookie season.

But in Week 6 of last season against the Jets, Wilson had to step into a larger role with Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb out. He caught five of six passes thrown his away for 46 yards. He was only targeted two other times the rest of the year.

We’ve been intrigued by Cedrick’s size and athleticism since he arrived in Dallas. If he takes the next step in his third year and provides additional value on special teams, Wilson should make the roster and perhaps step into Tavon Austin’s role as the #4 receiver as well.

The other top candidate currently is Devin Smith, who fizzled last year after a brief flash in Week 2 against the Redskins. While he may have more offensive experience and pedigree, Smith doesn’t bring any value on special teams and that is going to make things trickier for him as a depth option.

Other potential contenders like Noah Brown and Ventell Bryant bring size and blocking skills which give them an alternative form of special teams value. Brown has even been talked about as a small-sized tight end at times.

Wilson may have some competition for the punt return job as well. Dallas could try Tony Pollard or Jourdan Lewis in the role, since they already return kickoffs. CeeDee Lamb was returning punts at Oklahoma for the last three years, too.

But at least Cedrick Wilson has done it in the NFL and looked pretty good at times as well. It’s not enough to save him if he’s a non-contributor on offense, but the punt return option definitely gives him an edge in the wide-open battle among Dallas’ WR prospects.

What do you think?

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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    • Apologies; I was on PFR to look at his stats and they had that height for him. Clearly an error after checking other sources. Thanks for catching that!

  1. As we all look into the battle for the 4th and 5th receiver spots on this team, everybody needs to be taking a really deep breath and appreciate how fortunate we are that Lamb fell to us. All these guys who are struggling to separate themselves from this pack were “that close” to being our 3rd receiver (and we all know how often that guy is needed). Had Lamb not fallen, I have to believe a WR would have been picked in Rounds 2 or 3. Bullet dodged!

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