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Ranking Potential 2019 Slot WR Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys

Wide Receiver Cole Beasley has been an important part of the Dallas Cowboys offense for the past several years now, but his time with America’s Team may be coming to an end. No one really knows right now whether or not his time in Dallas is officially over, but it doesn’t hurt to look at younger and cheaper options available in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The 2019 wide receiver draft class looks to be a pretty deep one, but today I wanted to take a look at the prospects who will more than likely be forced to strictly play out of the slot in the NFL. These are the traditional undersized and quick footed WRs who would struggle on the outside due to their size in the NFL.

Marquise Brown, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow, Andy Isabella, Penny Hart, Greg Dortch, and Ryan Davis are the slot wide receivers who have stuck out to me so far in the 2019 draft class. Any one of them would be a good option to replace Cole Beasley with the Dallas Cowboys, but each one of them is different in their own way.

Here’s how I currently have them ranked:

Current Slot WR Rankings

  1. Marquise Brown (5’11”, 175), Oklahoma
  2. Mecole Hardman (5’10”, 185), Georgia
  3. Hunter Renfrow (5’10”, 175), Clemson
  4. Penny Hart (5’8″, 180), Georgia State
  5. Andy Isabella (5’8″, 186), UMass
  6. Greg Dortch (5’9″, 170) Wake Forest
  7. Ryan Davis (5’9″, 179), Auburn
Here’s how the top three rank in different categories:

Route Running

  1. Marquise Brown
  2. Hunter Renfrow
  3. Penny Hart

Renfrow probably should’ve earned the top spot here considering he’s currently the best route runner of the group, but Brown is right there on his heels and has the potential to become even better. He has a unique understanding of how to set up defenders and is explosive in and out of his cuts. Renfrow however is more steady and wastes very little movement.

Speed / Athleticism

  1. Marquise Brown
  2. Mecole Hardman
  3. Andy Isabella

Judging these players based on speed is a little difficult. It could be argued that change of direction speed is more important than straight-line speed, especially for slot receivers. I think Brown, Hardman, and Isabella are the unquestioned fastest slot WRs in the 2019 draft class though, and should all should run in the 4.3 range at the NFL Combine.

Versatility

  1. Mecole Hardman
  2. Penny Hart
  3. Greg Dortch

Nearly all slot WRs in the NFL offers value on special teams. Hardman, Hart, and Dortch all have experience in the return game as punt and kick returners, and are expected to carry that skill set over to the next level. Hardman has even been used defensively at Georgia, which is causing some NFL teams to look at him as a potential cornerback.

Hands / Ball Skills

  1. Hunter Renfrow
  2. Mecole Hardman
  3. Ryan Davis

Hunter Renfrow is the obvious top choice here. He catches absolutely everything thrown his way and might have the best hands of any receiver in the entire 2019 draft class. Hardman and Davis both lose concentration at times causing them to drop a few passes, but they are both natural hand catchers.

Ball Carrier

  1. Marquise Brown
  2. Mecole Hardman
  3. Penny Hart

Narrowing down the top three best slot WRs for this category wasn’t easy. Nearly all of these prospects show dynamic traits after the catch, but I decided to go with the three I thought had the best combination of speed and explosiveness with the ball their hands. Brown, Hardman, and Hart are all homerun threats anytime they touch the ball.

Blocking

  1. Mecole Hardman
  2. Penny Hart
  3. Ryan Davis

As a general rule, slot receivers aren’t the best blockers due to their lack of size and strength. Hardman’s effort and filled out frame makes him the best blocker of the bunch though. He’s coming from a system at Georgia that requires their WRs to do a lot of blocking and he shows a best ability to cut off defenders and keeps his feet moving on contact.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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