With most of the Dallas Cowboy world still focused on the 2012 NFL Draft, I decided to take a look at a few players already on the roster who should be able to make more of an impact in 2012.
Raymond Radway only played two years of college football in which he had 40 catches for 634 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He has sprinter speed and a 38 inch vertical.
He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys before the 2011 season. Raymond had a spectacular and impressive Training Camp in 2011. His leaping grabs and diving catches caused more than one onlooker to question whether stickum was making a comeback with WR’s. Unfortunately for Radway and the Cowboys, he broke his leg before the season began and subsequently missed the entire year. Radway did not have the benefit of working with the practice squad last year, so he will essentially be a rookie again this season.
The thing that sets Radway up for a breakout season is that despite being nearly a rookie with limited college experience and no NFL experience, the Cowboys are so thin at WR, he will get a genuine opportunity to contribute. The Cowboys have no clear 3rd WR.
Radway will be competing for the 3rd WR spot with Dwayne Harris and Kevin Ogletree (I don’t know enough about recent draft pick Danny Coale to know whether he will realistically be competing for the 3rd spot). If the Cowboys bring in a veteran free-agent WR, that may make Radway securing a roster spot more difficult, but many believe that the salary-cap issues will force the Cowboys to go into Training Camp with the WR’s they have now.
Unless one of the young WR’s has an incredible camp, the Cowboys are not likely to have a true 3rd WR.
The reality of the 3rd WR spot is that Garrett uses the formation so frequently, he will likely use a platoon of young WR’s as the 3rd wide-out. That would allow each of the young guys (Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway, and hopefully Andre Holmes) to focus on a smaller collection of plays designed specifically for them, rather than having one of them trying to be the full-time 3rd receiver who had to master the entire offensive playbook.
So even if Radway doesn’t beat out Dwayne Harris, it seems that if he makes the team as the 4th, or even 5th WR, he could still play a fair number of snaps with the offense.
When you watched Radway last season in training camp and in the pre-season, it was obvious that he had the raw skills to be a play-maker. He runs a 4.3 40. He was a champion sprinter in college. He is fast, and more importantly, he is quick. Watching him last year left me with one impression: once this kid gets more polished running routes, better at reading defenses, and develops a working relationship with Tony Romo, he has the speed, the hands, the 38 inch vertical, the moves, the cuts, the ability to maintain high speeds through breaks – all the raw skills necessary to be an elite receiver.
It is highly unlikely that Raymond Radway is anywhere close to being an elite receiver this year. But, if Radway gets on the field, even if it is in a few specialty packages a handful of times each game, he should make an immediate impact. (How hard is it to run a fly-route?)