The Dallas Cowboys Battle at WR: Who Will Stay and Who Will Go


June 11, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a catch against cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are very deep at wide receiver. True, the Cowboys only have 2 well known and proven commodities in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have depth. The rest of the position group is primarily raw talent and untapped potential. The national media and casual NFL fans see this as a weakness on the team. But to the Dallas Cowboys, their scouts, Dallas media, and knowledgeable fans, the Receiver Position appears deep on the Dallas Cowboys.

As a result of such depth, they will have to cut a very good WR (or two) this preseason as they finalize their 53 man roster. Some may make it to the practice squad while others will be gobbled up by other teams in desperate need of WR help.

Jul 22, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19), wide receiver Anthony Armstrong (13) and tackle Demetress Bell (74) during drills at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been through this before in years past. The top end talent is obvious but behind it stands a plethora of “maybe’s” and “hopefullies”. In 2008 the Cowboys had a similar issue with the backend of their WR depth chart. They were forced into some tough decisions and chose to keep Mike Jefferson and Isaiah Stanback over a guy named Danny Amendola. In hindsight it’s easy to say the Cowboys screwed up since Amendola went on to later lead the league in all-purpose yards and has now developed into a starting WR on a very good team.

I’m not pointing this out to cast unfair retrospection on the decisions of the 2008 season, but rather I bring this up because it was a very hard choice to make at the time and a tragic mistake in this specific case. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, right?

The Dallas Cowboys face a very similar situation here in 2013. Here’s a look at the top competition:

Dallas Cowboys Receiver Depth

Dez Bryant

Miles Austin

Dwyane Harris

Terrance Williams

Anthony Armstrong

Jared Green

Tim Benford

Cole Beasley

Danny Coale

Eric Rogers

Anthony Amos

The Cowboys rarely keep any more than 6-7 WR’s on the roster and with the shift to a 2-3 TE offense (12 and 13 packages) they will need to keep extra TE’s on the roster. With how committed they seem to using the 2 and 3 TE packages they will probably keep at 5 TE’s. As a result of carrying the extra TE’s they may only keep 5-6 WR’s in 2013. We all know Bryant and Austin have the top 2 spots and we can safely assume Dwayne Harris (the most accomplished and versatile of the remaining bunch) and Terrance Williams (3rd round draft pick) have their roster spots secure. That now leaves only 2 spots for everyone else to fight over.

Who’s leading the race for the #5 spot?

Anthony Armstrong may have just pulled ahead.

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Davis (29) grabs the face mask of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) in the first quarter of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Armstrong was Sport DFW’s pick at the start of camp and at this point he has done nothing to disappoint. The biggest question with Armstrong was whether he could contribute on Special Teams or not. On Sunday’s Hall of Fame game he not only contributed but he led the unit.

Equally as important as his contribution to Special Teams is his ability to immediately plug into a starting outside roll.

If something happens to Dez, Armstrong could fill in successfully much better than Terrance Williams or Dwyane Harris could. When Miles Austin inevitably pulls his hamstring and misses games in 2013, Armstrong can immediately step in as a trusted veteran route runner and deep threat.

Armstrong isn’t a sexy pick since he’s older than most (age 30) and has probably already realized his potential. Regardless, barring an injury or tragic case of the dropsies, Armstrong should be able to make the cut when all is said and done.

If Armstrong is locking down the 5 spot that probably only leaves one more roster spot for the rest to fight over. Stay tuned over the next week as we look at the remaining WR’s in Sport DFW’s player profile series, “On the Bubble”

 See past profiles:

Anthony Armstrong

Danny Coale

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