Dallas Cowboys WR standout Dennis Houston: “I’m just a cool dude.”

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys raised some eyebrows when they started featuring undrafted free agent WR, Dennis Houston, in training camp. Houston, a rookie free agent out of Western Illinois, has been a mainstay in first team reps, and could be surprise role player in Dallas this season.

With starter Michael Gallup recovering from offseason surgery, someone had to step up. Many just figured it would be a drafted player, or a highly regarded developmental guy, not the 85th ranked rookie WR in Dan Brugler’s 2022 Draft Guide.

At 6-foot-1, 198lbs, Houston is just a guy. He’s not overly fast (4.48 speed) or overly strong (although 19 reps is impressive for a WR). He’s just a guy. A guy who’s always in the right place, at the right time.

Dennis Houston has been making a name for himself on the Dallas Cowboys and it’s because of his intelligence and demeanor.

When questioned by local media after practice, Houston provided a glimpse at who he is. Mellow, boarder line robotic (yet not rehearsed) answers. Calm, nonchalant movements. And repeatedly falling back on some version of “it is what it is”.

When asked how he was able to gain Dak Prescott’s trust, dating back in spring work, and become such a big part of the offense early, Houston offered this:

"“It was just knowing my plays,” said Houston. “It wasn’t, ‘I need to get Dak on my side.’ It was just more, I just need to make sure I’m in the right position and everything just came with it.”"

Houston isn’t taking first team reps because he’s the fastest, tallest, strongest, or most athletic. He’s there because he’s the most dependable and most trustworthy. One could say, he’s this year’s Cedrick Wilson.

When asked about his study habits, Houston had this to say:

"“You gotta put hours into it, cause it’s your job and if you want to make a livelihood out of it you gotta be serious with it so it was a lot of hours.”"

Houston expanded on his willingness to do anything the Cowboys need him to do on special teams, as well. He expanded, saying they could throw some surprise situations at him but he’s ready for it because he’s prepared for it all.

Preparation appears to be the primary reason he’s where he is today. It’s not surprising that a QB enjoys throwing the ball to someone who knows what he’s doing, where to go, and when to be there. Traits are great but they’re pretty worthless if the guy is unprepared.

Dennis Houston is ultra-prepared and it’s helped this offense immensely the first portion of training camp.  Coaches don’t like players that embarrass them and Houston is the kind of guy who won’t do that. QBs like guys who can be relied on, and Houston can execute routes consistently from a variety of WR spots.

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Is the moment too big for Houston? It doesn’t appear to be. When asked about his demeaner through this all, Houston had this explanation,  “I’m just a cool dude.”

We could use more cool dudes like him in Dallas.