#11 Cole Beasley
Cole Beasley was born in Houston, Texas on April 26, 1989. He played his college football at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is a wide receiver in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
Cole Beasley attended Little Elm High School, which is located in Denton County, Texas, just a few minutes down the road from the Dallas Cowboys headquarters in Frisco, Texas. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, playing both basketball and football. It was on the football field where Beasley made a name for himself, though.
Cole Beasley was an option quarterback while at Little Elm High School and led his team to the Texas UI L 4A playoffs in consecutive years. He was a district Co-MVP, and posted 1,184 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns on 157 carries. He threw for 1,570 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, while also intercepting three passes on defense.
Cole Beasley was rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com coming out of high school. He ended up receiving offers from both Southern Methodist University and the Air Force, but eventually committed to SMU.
Beasley had his jersey retired at Little Elm High School in 2012 and was in attendance to watch Little Elm beat Frisco Liberty 49-14.
“It’s an honor to have your jersey retired from any place really,” Beasley said prior to the ceremony. “It’s a great opportunity to go back to my high school, and hopefully they appreciate me a little bit more and don’t hate me.”
After finishing his high school career at Little Elm in Denton County, Texas, Cole Beasley decided to continue his football career and accepted a scholarship to Southern Methodist University. Although Beasley was an option quarterback in high school, the coaching staff at SMU decided to convert him from QB to wide receiver.
As a freshman in 2008, Cole Beasley played in 11 games and started seven of those contests. He ended the season ranked third on the team with 42 catches for 366 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
In 2009 as a sophomore, Cole Beasley once again started seven games and played in a total of 12. He ended the season ranked fourth on the team with 40 catches for 493 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Beasley’s contribution as a wide receiver helped the Mustangs win the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, which marks the first bowl invite since the so-called “death penalty” or “Ponygate”.
Ponygate refers to the incident in which the football program at SMU was investigated and punished for numerous violations of NCAA rules and regulations. These violations occurred from the mid-1970s through 1986. The severity of the penalty handed down to SMU by the NCAA is still one of the most severe penalties handed down to a Division I collegiate program.
As a junior, Cole Beasley started all 14 games at receiver and caught 87 passes for 1,060 receiving yards and six touchdowns. His 1,060 receiving yards was the fourth highest single-season total in school history, and his 87 catches rank second for a single-season in the program’s history. Beasley also returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the 2010 season. He ended up being named to the Second Team All-Conference USA based on his performance as a junior.
In 2011, Beasley’s senior year, he started all 12 games and led the team with 86 catches for 1,040 receiving yards (second on the team) and scored two touchdowns.
2012 NFL Draft
Upon the completion of his collegiate career at SMU, Cole Beasley unfortunately didn’t get to hear his name called in any of the seven rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft because of concerns about his size, or lack thereof. The Dallas Cowboys decided to sign him as an undrafted free agent and gave him his chance to continue his football career as a professional in the NFL.
In training camp, Cole Beasley left abruptly because of what he stated as having to deal with “personal stuff” and even contemplated retiring from professional football altogether. He ended up having a change of heart and returned to the team, eventually making the final 53 man roster.
As a rookie in 2012, Cole Beasley played in 10 games and made 15 receptions for 98 yards.
In 2013, he accumulated 39 receptions for 368 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns. He ended up having the highest completion percentage of any receiver in the NFL with more than 10 targets. Beasley became Tony Romo’s favorite target on third downs, which was contributed to Beasley’s precision route running skills.
In 2014, Beasley ended up finishing fourth on the team in both receptions (37) and receiving yards (420). He was also able to find the end zone four times.
On March 3, 2015, the Dallas Cowboys signed Cole Beasley to a four-year contract worth $13.6 million. He ended up having the best statistical season of his career, catching 52 passes for 537 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns. His 52 receptions tied for second on the team and his five touchdowns led all Cowboys receivers that year.
Cole Beasley’s best statistical season — in 2015 — is largely attributed to Dez Bryant‘s ongoing battle with a foot injury, but is even more impressive considering he played with four different quarterbacks with varying degrees of knowledge of the offense.
Cole Beasley signed a four year, $13.6 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys on March 3, 2015.
Beasley received a $4 million signing bonus and $5 million in full guarantees. Cole Beasley’s 2016 salary becomes fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster on the fifth day of the 2016 season. He is also eligible for a $500,000 annual escalator. His contract makes him the 48th highest paid of 376 wide receivers in the NFL.
In 2016, Beasley’s base salary will be $2,356,000 and he will have a cap hit of $3,356,000. His base salary in 2017 will be $3 million and his hit against the cap will be $4 million. In the last year of his contract, 2018, Cole Beasley’s base salary will be $3,250,000 and his cap number will be $4,250,000.
The Cowboys will then have to decide if they want to sign him to a third contract or move on.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Ezekiel Elliott vs Byron Jones Part II: The Case For Paying Zeke
It's a debate that has raged on social media for some time now and it likely won't slow down as the offseason progresses and the Dallas Cowboys begin to hand out massive contracts to their top players. Pay Ezekiel Elliott? Pay Byron Jones? If you could only pay one, which would you pay?
This week fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer, Kevin Brady took to Twitter to poll the populous and his results were a bit surprising to me.
if you can only pay one it should be
The results inspired me to see what would happen if I put the same poll on my timeline.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
On Monday, Kevin wrote a piece looking at one of the difficult decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys this offseason or next. If the Cowboys could only extend Byron Jones OR Ezekiel Elliott, who should they choose? Kevin, as am I, is a firm believer in Byron Jones ability and says the Cowboys should extend them, and I agree. But let's look at the other side of the argument.
To begin, the Cowboys should and probably will get both guys contract extensions either this offseason or next. It's not impossible with the cap continuing to increase at a rate of about $8-12 million per year that the Cowboys will have the space to get the deals done that they need to get done. Ezekiel Elliott and Byron Jones included.
Byron Jones settled in nicely at cornerback during his first full season at cornerback and knowing what we know about Jones, he won't be satisfied with a second team All-Pro appearance. Expect him to get better. However, if there's a single player that represents the current identity of the Dallas Cowboys, it's Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys made him the fourth overall pick in 2016 and haven't looked back in their plan to establish the running game. For his career Elliott has averaged 26.9 touches per game over the course of his 40 games.
Here's a look at what Elliott's per game and per 16 game paces look like through the first three seasons of his career.
As you can see from the table above, Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 131.2 total yards per game for his career. In his rookie season he had 1,994 total yards and he sat out the week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when the Cowboys had the NFC and home field advantage locked up. In 2017, Elliott sat out six games and still had nearly 1,000 yards rushing. In 2018, Elliott broke through the 2,000 total yard barrier after seeing a huge increase in his targets and receptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has been everything the Dallas Cowboys could have hoped for and more. With the leadership role he's taken with the team, he's a player that leads both vocally and by example. There are few players on the Dallas Cowboys that give as much effort as he does each snap. How many times has it looked like Elliott was about to get dropped for a two or three yard loss only to grind through tackles to pick up a four yard gain? How many times has he bounced off tacklers to get to the first down marker? Ezekiel Elliott is the human personification of dirty yards, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Elliott can't take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Elliott's is a game breaker who threatens the defense every time he steps on the field.
In 2018, Elliott led the NFL in yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. His 949 yards after contact in 2018 would have ranked 13th in the NFL in rushing, which was better than David Johnson's 940 yards rushing last season.
Not many running backs effect a football game like Ezekiel Elliott does.
Few players outside of the quarterback position are as much of a focal point for their offense while being an attention grabber for opposing defenses like Ezekiel Elliott is. In 2018, he saw eight or more men in the box on nearly 25% of his carries in 2018. Some of that is related to the Dallas Cowboys insistence on using two tight ends on 50% of their running plays (per Sharp Football), but the other aspect is related to how much they respect the Dallas Cowboys running game. Since the 2014, the Cowboys have been synonymous with running the football. DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden, and now Ezekiel Elliott have been the faces of that running game behind the Cowboys elite offensive line.
Even in a down year for offensive line play from the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott still managed to lead the NFL in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott made the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years as well. Were it not for the railroad job done by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2017, there's a really good chance that Elliott leads the league in rushing three years in a row and that the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs all three seasons.
Sure, the running back position is undervalued in the NFL and rushing yardage can be replaced, but there are intangibles to Elliott's game that are very difficult to replace. His ability to grind out the dirty yards, break big plays, create yards after contact, pass protect, be a threat as a receiver, and his leadership make him a player that is difficult to replace.
Yes, Byron Jones was really good in 2018 and deserves to get paid by the Dallas Cowboys as well, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player on the Cowboys roster who has been as consistent and dominating week in and week out as Ezekiel Elliott has been over the last three years.
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