Given the success that Laurent Robinson had with the Dallas Cowboys, it is highly possible that Jerry Jones targets a receiver with one of his first three picks in the NFL draft, but is it possible that the team’s slot receiver is already on the team?
In his one and only season with Dallas, Robinson turned in his best season as a pro behind 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. I have no doubt in my mind Jones wants to see that same production out of the team’s slot or No.3 receiver. But, what most people, including Jones, do not remember or maybe fail to realize is that Robinson saw plenty of snaps as the team’s No.2 receiver due to the injuries sustained by Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.
The emergence of Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley might be enough to keep the Cowboys from looking for a third receiver in the draft or via free agency, but with Jones in charge, one never knows. One thing we can be sure of, however, is that keeping Kevin Ogletree hindered both Harris and Beasley’s development.
The Cowboys drafted Harris in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft, and it did not take very long for him make an impact. In his first pre-season game, Harris had a five catch 127-yard performance, which included two touchdowns. In 2012, Harris made an impact on special teams, but despite being on the active roster all season, he was not very involved in the passing game, until later in the season.
Beasley was an undrafted free agent out of SMU in 2012, but as the season went on, he progressed nicely. He quietly climbed up the depth chart and began establishing a relationship with Tony Romo. When his number was called he turned in a seven reception 68-yard game against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day.
Before I can call either of these guys the team’s slot or the No. 3 receiver, it is important to note that, in most three receiver packages, the Cowboys normally shift Austin to the slot. This means that the No.3 receiver moves to the outside along with Bryant.
If it comes down to it, personally I’m more comfortable with Harris as the team’s No.3 due to him being the bigger guy, but I cannot deny that when Beasley gets his hands on the ball good things happen. If Beasley is going to be the team’s No. 3 receiver, he is going to have to get bigger to keep from getting mugged by bigger cornerbacks, in my opinion.
At the end of the day trying to figure out which one of these two talented receivers will fill that spot is a good problem to have.