In part two of a twelve part series leading up to training camp 2010, Blue-Star takes a good look at the Dallas Cowboys' wide receivers.
The Good: In a word, Miles Austin. After beginning the season as the team's no. 3 receiver, Austin parlayed a spot-start in place of Roy Williams in week 4 into a monstrous, Pro Bowl-caliber season, with 81 catches, 1,821 yards and 11 touchdowns. Patrick Crayton, who has been the subject of rampant trade speculation this offseason, provided a predictably solid season in the slot with 37 catches for 622 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Roy Williams continued to disappoint, though he did post 7 touchdown catches. Kevin Ogletree saw increasing action late in the season, and the team has made no secret of their expectations of the Virginia product--then again, that was before the first round selection of Dez Bryant, who seems to have the ability to vault past the field on the depth charts. Like Crayton, Sam Hurd has been at the center of trade talks this offseason, but, due to his special teams play, he may not be going anywhere. Hurd only had seven catches for 121 yards in 2009, but he shined on special teams, and will likely be back if Dallas decides to carry six receivers.
The Bad: In a word, Roy Williams. Despite the aforementioned seven touchdown catches, Williams struggled woefully with untimely drops and poor route running, falling far short of Jerry Jones's expectations--namely that he would be a no. 1-caliber receiver. Williams himself has admitted that his time in Dallas has been a "nightmare," and is intent on bouncing back in 2010. Until he does, though, he'll be leading a pretty light bandwagon around DFW.
There were some ugly moments between Crayton and the team this off-season--or, "bad" moments, as it were--but he's vowed that, until something changes, he'll give his all to the Cowboys. And, given his history, there's no reason to think he won't.
The Future: If Dez Bryant is anywhere near the caliber of player Dallas thought he was when they selected him 24th overall, they may be set at the position for some time. Austin hasn't signed a long-term deal yet, but it seems only a matter of time before the two sides agree.
The team remains high on Kevin Ogletree, who emerged as a breakout star in 2009 training camp, but he'll have to continue to make strides in 2009 if he wishes to stick out in a crowded field. Coaches have also been quick to praise practice squad members Jesse Holley and Manuel Johnson, though it's hard to imagine that they would vault up the depth chart in this group. CFL alum Titus Ryan may be an option as a return man. Verran Tucker and Terrell Hudgins have both made some plays this offseason, but remain roster longshots.
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