The Dallas Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver position went from scary to very interesting on Saturday when America’s Team added Danny Coale form Virginia Tech in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. A four year-starter for the Hokies, Coale provides much needed competition for Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway and Kevin Ogletree at the slot receiver position.
For whatever moronic reason, the Cowboys still have not contacted free agent receiver Jesse Holley about re-signing, but fortunately he’s still on the market and might come back to Dallas before the 2012 season begins. In the meantime, Dallas must have a plan for who will man the No. 3 receiver spot this season alongside Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
Radway showed signs of potential during the 2011 preseason before breaking his leg and missing the entire regular season. Likewise, Harris showed flashes of brilliance in his first preseason game last year, but then disappeared and struggled in practice. Ogletree has been literally handed the No. 3 job on a silver platter, but keeps fumbling it away.
Holley is easily the best candidate of these, but he’s the only one not on the roster. Radway is the early favorite at Valley Ranch, although word around camp is Harris and Ogletree both have an equal shot for the job as well.
The X-factor here is Coale, who was a possession receiver at Virginia Tech and is as scrappy as the day is long. The Cowboys are in desperate need of a guy like that who will fight for the ball, which is a phrase widely used by “draft experts” to describe Coale’s tendencies.
Another thing many have said about Coale is that he’s ready for the NFL right now – he doesn’t need an adjustment period. That remains to be seen, but he definitely didn’t show any signs of fear or hesitation in college and that will serve him well in the NFL because receivers who slow down going across the middle are the ones who get their teeth rattled.
At 6’0″ and 200 lbs., Coale resembles a young Wes Welker streaking across the middle of the field on slant routes and then scampering toward the end zone while avoiding linebackers and safeties. Obviously that’s a mighty humbling comparison, but Coale put up excellent numbers during his senior year at Virginia Tech despite what many scouts call “horrific quarterback play” by the Hokies’ passers.
In short, to say the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver competition is wide open is an understatement. Coale is obviously the one on which most will keep their eye, but he’s in for a battle with at least Radway, Harris and Ogletree. In addition to the possibility of Holley returning, the Cowboys signed the following four local undrafted rookie receivers to free agent deals after the draft and you better believe they’ll be fighting for that spot harder than any of the aforementioned players: