Wide receiver is a hot topic for the Cowboys as we get ready for the 2022 NFL Draft. But while Dallas does have some legitimate concerns at the position, one asset that seems summarily dismissed in the discussion is second-year prospect Simi Fehoko. After a quiet rookie season, is Fehoko now being unfairly ignored as part of the Cowboys' plans for next season?
The big-bodied receiver out of Stanford was a 5th-round pick for Dallas last year. Billed at 6'4″ and over 220 lbs., Fehoko has a coveted blend of size and athleticism at WR that helped him be a mid-round selection despite some criticisms of his technique.
Thankfully, that's what the coaches are for. And while Simi only dressed for five games in 2021 and didn't get any targets on offense, he stayed healthy and received a full dose of skill-building instruction.
It's easy to think Fehoko won't be a factor after no offensive contributions in his rookie season. But that would be unfair given the WR depth chart he was buried under. Not only did you have the trio of CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup eating up targets, but veteran backups Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown were also next in line before the rookie.
Dallas knew this was their group before they drafted Fehoko and no doubt projected he wouldn't be utilized much in 2021. That's generally the idea with 5th-round picks; you're not counting on them for immediate production but rather hoping to develop them for the future.
After a year of developmental effort with Simi the Cowboys may very well be looking to give him an opportunity this season. This isn't to say he'll be asked to replace Amari Cooper as a top-three receiver, but why couldn't he be the next Cedrick Wilson?
Remember, Wilson was a 6th-round pick in 2018. He missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury and then only appeared in six games the following year, spending most of it on either the practice squad or injured reserve.
Even in this third season, Cedrick was still a bit player with just 17 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns. His opportunities were limited behind the “big three” but he showed up when he could.
Wilson finally broke out in 2021, starting four games and getting healthy rotation in others between Gallup's injury, Cooper's COVID absences, and other needs. He parlayed that into a new contract with Miami as a free agent.
Because we saw so much of him last year, Cedrick's departure perhaps feels like a greater void than it really is. And given Wilson's pedigree as just a 6th-round pick himself, why couldn't Simi Fehoko at least step into those shoes in his second season?
Again, we're not saying the Cowboys can just ignore the WR position in the 2022 Draft. With Gallup's recovery from ACL surgery potentially continuing into September, Dallas could easily address the issue with an early pick for increased depth and more immediate security.
But even if they do, Simi Fehoko shouldn't be forgotten as a potential contributor. His silence in 2021 was more circumstantial than damning, and the traits that got him drafted a year ago are still there to make him a roster contender this season.