If the Dallas Cowboys are going to succeed in 2013, they need their passing game to take off. While Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are already entrenched as the top two receivers, a legitimate No. 3 is needed to keep Tony Romo’s arsenal loaded.
That is where third-year receiver Dwayne Harris comes in.
Harris, a 2011 sixth-round pick out of ECU, rode the momentum of his late-2012 emergence into this offseason, putting on an admirable performance throughout OTAs and minicamp. Almost all areas of his game, from route running to using his hands more effectively, have seen considerable improvement since last year. Harris is also considered the Cowboys’ best run-blocking receiver.
During training camp, Harris will have to fend off competition from Terrance Williams, the Cowboys’ 2013 third-round pick. Unless Williams creates sparks leading up to the regular, though, there’s little chance that the rookie unseats Harris as Dallas’ No. 3 receiver. The Cowboys, however, will be looking for opportunities to get the third-rounder off the bench.
Especially in the Cowboys’ pass-heavy offense, Harris could see considerable targets as the No. 3 receiver. Last year, Dallas’ third receiver, Kevin Ogletree, managed 32 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns. Harris, however, would be a much more consistent option for Romo than the one-game wonder who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.
Throughout his two seasons with the Cowboys, Harris has amassed 17 catches for 222 yards and one touchdown in 23 appearances. Fourteen of those receptions, however, came in the last six games of the 2012 season, when Harris finally started to show some of the potential that made him draft worthy back in 2011.
Over the next two months, Harris will get every opportunity to carve a niche for himself in the Cowboys passing game. Even as a compliment to Bryant and Austin, the third-year receiver should watch his stock sore.