One of the most glaring issues of the 2022 Dallas Cowboys season was at the wide receiver position by anyone not named CeeDee Lamb. Looking at the EPA from the receiving corps it was glaring that it was Lamb and a bunch of other guys playing the position.
A few days ago it was learned the Dallas Cowboys had the seventh-slowest wide receiver corps for 2022. So naturally one of the most discussed off-season topics is how to add to a beleaguered unit. Enter Rashee Rice, a wide receiver from SMU.
Rice had 96 receptions, 1355 yards, 10 touchdowns, and a 14.115-yard-per-catch average for SMU. While he may not be the burner a Jalin Hyatt or Andrei Iosavis is, he does well to accelerate and hit top speed, or break a tackle and get chunk yards. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing about 205 pounds (he weighed 200 at the Senior Bowl) he has the size and strength to play outside, but has the acceleration and burst to play in the slot as well.
Rashee Rice is a wide receiver option in the first or second round that will help a 2022 Dallas Cowboys unit that needed help.
His ability to play inside or out will help the Cowboys as they move Lamb around more to create favorable matchups, leaving Rice and Michael Gallup, and/or a free agent (maybe Jalen Tolbert develops) to win one on one matchups with their range and hands. While Rice will need to work on the tighter coverage in the NFL, having Lamb take some pressure off should help the transition.
When it comes to hands Rice is a bit of a mixed bag. He will make a dynamic, eye-popping catch, but then drop what looks to be an easy catch. Some of it might be him looking to break one before he catches the ball and should be fixable. But when he has to make a tough catch he seemingly makes it, even when you don’t think he will.
Coming from a college spread offense, he will need some work in route running at the next level, but a good scheme can help elevate some of the curve. This is not to say he is a bad route runner, but SMU didn’t ask him to run a lot of variations to his routes. He is crisp in his cuts and accelerates really well out of a break.
I’ve seen Rice projected anywhere from the bottom of the first to the top of the second, but a good showing at the combine should solidify him as an option for the Cowboys’ first pick. Rice gives the Dallas Cowboys another option at wide receiver and his ability to be used inside or out fits well with what the Cowboys should be looking for.
He may not have the fastest 40 times at the combine, but a good 4.45 or under showing will boost his stock. He should start day one and be a top-three option.