The Dallas Cowboys need Jalen Tolbert to be ready early

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

After trading Amari Cooper this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys knew they needed to draft a wide receiver earlier than later in the 2022 NFL Draft. Based on who they were scouting, it felt like there was a chance one would be picked in the first two rounds. But after those top targets went off the board, the Cowboys decided to wait and target Jalen Tolbert in the third round.

With Cooper in Cleveland, Dallas is already short one of their top-three WRs. Michael Gallup‘s rehab threatens to make things even thinner, so there’s no time to waste for the rookie receiver from South Alabama.

The way it looks now, to start the season, the Dallas Cowboys will be relying on CeeDee Lamb, a currently injured James Washington, Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko, and Jalen Tolbert. Yes, some other guys like T.J. Vasher and Ty Fryfogle could make names for themselves, but if Tolbert isn’t ready to go, then Washington, Brown, and Fehoko would likely be the next three guys.

The Dallas Cowboys will need Jalen Tolbert to contribute early or there could be a in store for a poor start

What Jalen Tobert offers is solid route running, decent athleticism, and enough speed to create big plays. The downside was focus drops, level of competition, and a more versatile route tree.

Without Gallup, the Cowboys will need Tolbert’s catch radius on throws down the field. Getting Tolbert schemed open to give him space will help take some of the pressure off the Dallas Cowboys trying to feel like they have to throw against simple route schemes forcing tight plays.

Playing straight-up as the Cowboys did later in 2021 isn’t going to help.

Yes, James Washington could help, but Washington is seen more as a slot-style player than getting massive snaps outside. Only Simi Fehoko and T.J. Vasher are above 6’3″, so one of the two will most likely be on the roster to start the season to help with the red zone.

Using Tony Pollard as a receiver will also be a key for the Cowboys to replace the loss of Gallup. Pollard also offers explosive play ability, something the Dallas Cowboys lacked late last year.

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But Jalen Tolbert is the key to much of this. His ability to play often, for quality snaps, will take the pressure off the Dallas Cowboys to force things to happen. Having Tolbert play outside will also help with Gallup returns to move Lamb around for mismatches. Sure, the Cowboys could still look to add a veteran, but for now, Tolbert is the key.