In assessing the needs of the Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver wasn’t high on my list, much less a priority.
So, when analysts started saying the Cowboys needed to draft a receiver, I scratched my head. It’s true that the Cowboys haven’t had a consistent group of receivers, but after your quarterback threw for nearly 5,000 yards in 2012, is receiver unquestionably a priority?
It’s a tricky position to evaluate because Miles Austin hasn’t been healthy since signing his contract extension, but when he’s healthy he rivals some of the best receivers in the NFL. In fact, had an ankle injury not cut his season-finale short against the Washington Redskins, chances are that Austin could have had a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2012.
The team also has wide receiver Dez Bryant coming off of a career year in which he put up 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bryant made a comment that he believes he could become the NFL’s first 2000-yard receiver, and after the flashes of greatness he showed in 2012, I believe him. One thing Bryant can afford to work on going forward is becoming more consistent.
Behind Bryant and Austin, the team has Dwayne Harris who provided the team with a genuine kick returns threat and stepped up as a receiver late in the season by developing a good relationship with quarterback Tony Romo. Also in the mix are Cole Beasley, Danny Coale, and Anthony Armstrong.
While it’s true that the Cowboys can get better at just about every position, I don’t think receiver should be a priority over the offensive and defensive lines, and certainly not over the safety and running back position. Personally, I’d like to see what Harris could do at the third receiver spot now that Kevin Ogletree is gone, before saying the Cowboys need to upgrade the receiving corps.
If the Cowboys do draft a receiver early, it could mean that they’re looking for an insurance policy in case the team cannot re-sign Bryant or in the event that 2013 is Austin’s last season wearing the star on his helmet.