Why the Dallas Cowboys will upset you with their WR cuts

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson #1 of the Boise State Broncos avoids a tackle from the New Mexico Lobos at Branch Field on October 7, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Boise State Broncos beat the New Mexico Lobos 49-21. (Photo by Adria Malcolm/Getty Images)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson #1 of the Boise State Broncos avoids a tackle from the New Mexico Lobos at Branch Field on October 7, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Boise State Broncos beat the New Mexico Lobos 49-21. (Photo by Adria Malcolm/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys are going to anger plenty of their fans this summer when they most assuredly cut some of our favorite receiver prospects.

Building a 53-man roster is never an easy thing for an NFL team. For the Dallas Cowboys, it will be an especially difficult task when they address their receiver corps. And whatever they ultimately decide is sure to upset plenty of us in Cowboys Nation.

It’s not that the Dallas Cowboys are loaded at the receiver position. It’s that the Dallas Cowboys are deep in their receiver ranks. Largely populated by young, undeveloped talent, the Cowboys are tasked with making these personnel decisions based on their abilities both today – AND tomorrow.

2018 Dallas Cowboys receivers: Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, K.D. Cannon, and Lance Lenoir

These are the top candidates currently on the Dallas Cowboys roster. It may not feature the flashy names that many other teams boast, but it’s loaded with potential. Unfortunately, that’s unassumed potential.  This means it will be up to the Cowboys personnel department and coaches to decide who to invest a roster spot on and who to cut loose.

How many players can they keep?

Historically, the Dallas Cowboys only keep five or six receivers on their final 53-man roster. Considering they will likely be keeping three quarterbacks this season, the chances of going above six are slim to none.

The players we know will make the cut are clear: Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup are all guaranteed a roster spot. Beasley is the unquestioned starting slot man, Hurns is the physical X receiver expected to replace Dez Bryant. Austin is the secret weapon. And Gallup is the future.

Terrance Williams is right behind them since he’s the most experienced receiver they have, he’s an excellent run blocker, and he costs more money to cut than to keep. The only reason he’s not in the top group is because his play has regressed, he’s recovering from injury, and he’s had a series of off-the-field issues as of late. Still, his presence on the final 53 is probably 90 percent.

Since that’s five, it leaves the Cowboys with room for only one more – max. Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, Deonte Thompson are the leading candidates to duke it out for the final roster spot. As you can see, this is getting ugly fast.

Deonte Thompson

I broke down Deonte Thompson’s play last month in Deonte Thompson could be BIG in 2018.

I pointed out that Thompson maybe a journeyman, but he’s been progressing each season and looks like he could break out on the Cowboys.

Thompson is by far the fastest outside threat on the roster, and has a proven track record of success – last season he earned a 124.3 rating on deep balls – 5th best in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

Noah Brown

Noah Brown is a pet cat to many of us in Cowboys Nation. The supremely talented second year receiver played a steady role last season (159 snaps) and primarily served as a move-blocker (taking over Lucky Whiteheads old role). But he’s been hard at work in the offseason and could be the Cowboys long-term solution at the X spot.


Related Story: 3 reasons Noah Brown makes the Cowboys

Cedrick Wilson

Cedrick Wilson has his own qualities that make him a viable candidate to claim the last receiver roster spot. The sixth round draft pick has big play potential himself. He’s a smart kid who’s already endearing himself with the coaching staff, meaning he may not be quite the project player we once thought he’d be.

"“Ced has picked up the offense probably better than most of the guys in the room,” receivers coach Sanjay Lal said.  “And now it’s become like, ‘Ok, we need a guy to run in there – Ced, go in there’. And he knows what to do. Today he scored a touchdown.”"

Wilson finished second in his draft class with 383 yards in contested situations, joining Hurns and Gallup as attractive targets in 50-50 situations.

Tavon Austin

I know what you’re probably thinking – if we reclassify Tavon Austin as a running back, then we can keep another receiver. As a web-back, Austin does have some hybrid RB-WR duties, but all indications are he’s a receiver first, and a running back second. He works with Sanjay Lal and attends all the WR meetings.

And even if you did classify him as a RB, which RB are you willing to sacrifice to make it happen? With Zeke an obvious lock, and Rod Smith his promising backup, you really only have two other spots. One will likely go to the important Jamize Olawale at FB and the final spot will be a battle between Bo Scarborough and Darius Jackson.

Related Story: What Dallas' new FB brings in 2018

Tough decisions

At the end of the day, there just aren’t enough roster spot to fit all of these promising receivers. Some of our favorites are sure to face the axe when it comes time to trim down to 53. Unless the Cowboys stash one on IR, they’ll probably end up with another team.

Next: Is being a pass-catcher enough for Rico and the Cowboys?

That’s why this promises to be frustrating situation for all of us. We are guaranteed to lose someone we like. The good news is this will be one of the most exciting training camp battles to watch. With so much undeveloped talent, and so many fresh faces, each day will be an adventure.

Just don’t forget how it inevitably ends…