This former Texas A&M receiver has a unique skill set that could bode well for the team.
Not too long ago the Dallas Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick filling the need for WR3. However, the rest of the depth chart is unclear. Last year, the team used the services of Tavon Austin, Cedric Wilson, and Devin Smith to fill out the rest of the wide receiver corp.
As of now, Tavon Austin doesn’t currently have a roster spot while Cedric Wilson and Devin Smith don’t have too much leverage with a new coaching staff in town. In addition, the skill set of Wilson and Smith weren’t diverse. Both of them are good route runners and when they played and lined up in the slot when asked to play.
In previous articles, I’ve mentioned that Mike McCarthy seems to covet bigger receivers. Mike McCarthy drafted 19 receivers in Green Bay; 16 of the 19 receivers he drafted were taller than 6-foot-1. That’s a staggering amount of tall receivers in his time.
With their first-round pick, they drafted CeeDee Lamb. Lamb is 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds. In previous years, his height would make him the tallest amongst the wide receiver corp. However, at the end of the draft, the Cowboys grabbed another three receivers: Aaron Parker, Kendrick Rogers, and Stephen Guidry.
Parker stands at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds. Guidry is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. The last guy, Rogers, stands in at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. Those are three really tall athletes with nice catch radiuses. They also represent a paradigm shift that the team has undergone with Mike McCarthy as head coach. Long gone are the shorter receivers, the big guys are here to stay.
In a deep wide receiver draft class, having consistent production, good athleticism, and good separation quickness will draw teams to draft a specific product.
Rogers had two of those things in his favor. (I hesitated to say two) He does display good athleticism. At the combine, he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, broad jumped 124 inches, vertical jumped 35.5 inches, and ran a 7.13-second 3-cone drill. While the latter isn’t impressive even at 6-foot-4, on paper he displays good athletic traits like foot speed and explosiveness.
The explosiveness doesn’t surprise anyone who has watched the wide receiver play in college as half his highlight tape is filled with contested catches or high-pointed catches. Throughout the evaluation process, Rogers was touted for his ball tracking ability in college even with his fair share of concentration drops.
However, Rogers does surprisingly generate separation in the short and intermediate areas at an admirable rate. Against some of the best defensive backs the college ranks have to offer, he consistently found success at getting open. However, for various reasons, many out of his control, he only played in nine games, catching 30 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns in the 2019 season. Those numbers probably cemented his stock as an undrafted free agent.
How does a guy, who totaled 786 yards and seven touchdowns for his college career, supposed to help the team? Last season the Cowboys ended the season with a Red Zone Touchdown Percentage of 57.4 percent. That number, was quite literally, league average.
Earlier in this offseason, Dez Bryant seemed eager to join the Cowboys after sitting the last two seasons due to injury and recovery. Oddly, that seemed to gain some traction amongst Cowboys fans. It seemed most remember what Bryant was good at doing in his tenure with the team.
He caught a lot of touchdowns. Sorry, let me be more specific. He is the franchise leader in touchdown receptions with 73 to his name.
The Romo-to-Bryant 50/50 balls helped the team score so many touchdowns on what are relatively low probability throws. Yet, with Bryant’s ball-tracking and adjustment skills, it didn’t matter where Romo threw it. As long as it was in the vicinity, the referees would signal a touchdown.
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Once again, enter Rogers. The Aggie’s body control, adjusting ability, and ball-tracking are amongst some of the best in his draft class. Having a threat like him in the redzone could allow QB Dak Prescott to complete some “easy” completions for touchdowns. The Cowboys do get this ability with CeeDee Lamb, so the multiplicity of this particular skill set could be a boon for the now increasingly aggressive Prescott.
While bigger bodies do not immediately improve an offense’s red zone touchdown percentage, having the threat of a bigger receiver will warrant extra attention. Whether the team wants to bring in more defensive backs or bracket a specific receiver, the attention the receivers receive at the goal line could make it easier for running back Ezekiel Elliott to barrel his way for a touchdown.
With a new coaching staff in town and an offseason that’s been all types of unusual, the undrafted free agents will have a harder time to make rosters. However, highlight plays in camp could result in a few more sticking around than people expect, and it could pay dividends for the team looking to capitalize on their offensive star power.
- Published on 07/18/2020 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 07/18/2020 at 06:57 AM