DALLAS — As the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp on July 27, here is a look at the roster broken down by position.
Next up is receiver, and 2022 will be CeeDee Lamb’s time to shine and etch himself as one of the elites at the position.
The former 2020 first-round pick from Oklahoma won’t have to compete with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for targets in the Cowboys’ passing attack. Dallas traded Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, and Gallup is rehabilitating from a torn ACL sustained in last year’s penultimate regular season game.
The Pro Bowler Lamb led the team with 120 targets through 16 games, and also caught a team-high 79 passes for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns. Lamb generated those targets and catches as Cooper and Gallup dealt with availability issues throughout the 2021 season.
Starting Week 1 this September, Lamb will be quarterback Dak Prescott’s primary target; the 6’-2”, 189-pound wideout won’t have to wait for something to happen to Cooper or Gallup to know that he’s the top option.
Fun fact: #Cowboys rookie WR @Jalen8Tolbert says that one of the receivers he watched tape on during the draft process was CeeDee Lamb.
What lies behind Lamb is a mix of veterans and youngsters. Gallup should be ready at some point during the season’s first few weeks and, when he’s healthy, he provides Prescott with another top flight choice.
The Cowboys also signed former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver James Washington and drafted third-rounder Jalen Tolbert from South Alabama. Washington should give Dallas a slot presence while Tolbert acclimates to the pro game with an eye on becoming a fixture later in the year.
There are wideouts on the roster that aren’t household names, but certainly aren’t strangers to Prescott. Noah Brown, who has 39 catches for 425 yards in his 50-game career with the Cowboys, returns for a sixth season. T.J. Vasher, a 6’-5”, 210-pound target, stuck around on the practice squad as an undrafted free agent last season.
Another second-year talent looking to get more action is fifth-rounder Simi Fehoko. The former Stanford standout had five activations last year and logged 48 special teams snaps and seven snaps on offense. Fehoko is another big-bodied receiver at 6’-3”, 220 pounds. Brandon Smith, a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Iowa, will also be challenging for reps and a spot on the roster.
#Cowboys' Mike McCarthy says he feels very good about where WR Jalen Tolbert is because he's very detail oriented.
The Cowboys have intriguing undrafted free agents from this year’s class in Ole Miss’ Dontario Drummond, Wake Forest’s Jaquarii Robinson, Ty Fryfogle from Indiana, and Dennis Houston from Western Illinois.
The key for the undrafted rookies will be to step in and get reps when veterans or mid-level wideouts are missing time in training camp and the preseason due to the inevitable attrition that strikes NFL rosters in August. Even if they don’t find a place in Dallas, they can produce decent enough film to catch on with another team.
Do you think the Cowboys will have elite production from their receivers in 2022? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane
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