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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Profile: Dwayne Harris

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys got a pleasant surprise halfway through the year in 2012, and it came in the form of wide receiver Dwayne Harris. Harris was a sixth round selection in 2011, and came on to gain the Cowboys trust late in the season last year. Moving forward there should be nothing but good things to come from Harris in 2013.

Harris’ numbers might not look impressive, he caught only 17 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown last year, but all of that damage was done in the last seven games of the season. Harris became a reliable target for Tony Romo, who seemed to look for him late in the year. To put Harris’ production in perspective, in the final seven games of the 2012 season, the Cowboys former third wide receiver Kevin Ogletree caught eight passes for 92 yards and one touchdown.

So last year while everyone was trying to figure out who would step up for the Cowboys with a gimpy Miles Austin and a lackluster Ogletree late in the season, it was Harris who picked up his game. It’s also no different this season, where many fans are expecting rookie Terrance Williams to be the Cowboys third wide receiver, but counting out Dwayne Harris would be a big mistake.

Coming out of college at East Carolina, Harris had a reputation of having great hands and a willingness to go over the middle to make catches. All Harris needed to was some coaching and some time to grow into a solid NFL player, which is exactly what Harris is now.

Perhaps Harris’ biggest job on the Cowboys, however, is his role as a punt returner. Dallas was struggling to find a reliable punt returner after removing Dez Bryant from the job and Harris was a star in that role. He ranked second in the NFC in average yards per return, even managing to score a touchdown. Harris’ punt return for a score against the Philadelphia Eagles put the Cowboys up for good in a season saving win for Dallas in November. The job became his after that game and his returns helped the Cowboys win games the rest of the season.

Harris has become a really good punt returner and he will play a big part for the Cowboys in that role moving forward. He will also be a big piece of the Cowboys receiving group in 2013. Harris won’t give up his place as third receiver without a fight and it should be fun battle to watch when training camp opens. Dwayne Harris is here to stay for the Dallas Cowboys and no one should be surprised if he plays a bigger part in the offense in 2013.

Ben is a Cowboys writer for Rantsports.com and you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi, or add him on Google+