Ever since the Dallas Cowboys selected Baylor receiver Terrance Williams in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, everyone has asked the same question: can he do for the Cowboys what Laurent Robinson did in 2011?
After signing with the Cowboys in Week 2 of the 2011 NFL season, Robinson became the league’s best No. 3 receiver, catching 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. He did a superb job as the third receiving option and also as a starter filling in for Dez Bryant and Miles Austin when each of them were injured at various points of the season. The Cowboys desperately missed Robinson in 2012 after he departed via free agency and now Williams has basically been tagged as “the next Laurent Robinson” in Dallas.
However, the Cowboys already have a player who can be that and so much more. Cole Beasley showed incredible potential in the preseason last year and then in the limited work he had in the regular season, including a seven-catch, 68-yard performance on Thanksgiving Day. However, Dallas didn’t use him anymore after that, which was the exact same thing that happened with Jesse Holley the year before.
Drafting Williams wasn’t a mistake because he was a steal in the third round, but Dallas can’t forget about Beasley or he’ll end up becoming a playmaker for another team. But the Cowboys can’t just sit on Beasley, either; they need to free him.
With Bryant and Austin out wide and Jason Witten at tight end, opposing defenses won’t be able to give Beasley any attention, so he can dart over the middle and move the chains consistently. Sure, the Cowboys are unwisely moving to the same two-tight end offense the New England Patriots use, but Wes Welker excelled as a slot receiver in that system for six years and Beasley could do something similar in Dallas.
That’s not to say Beasley is another Welker or “the next Welker”; his skill set is different. However, he can play the same position and the same role in the same offense and provide another security blanket for Tony Romo. He didn’t get much work last year as an undrafted rookie out of SMU, but Beasley could easily do what Robinson did in 2011 and much more if given the opportunity.