Dez Bryant looks ready to have a great season as he has been outstanding in camp and drawing praise from coaches. Miles Austin’s hamstring is injured again but he is only expected to miss a week of practice. So at this point, we know these two are going to start as long as they remain healthy.
It’s the rest of the field that the Cowboys will have to evaluate in deciding who to keep on the 53 man roster. Last year Dallas kept 6 WRs and I think that could happen again this year. After the first week of camp, how are things shaking out at wide receiver?
My ranking of the rest of the pack (after Austin and Bryant) from top to bottom. If the Cowboys keep 6 WRs, then only 4 of these will make the roster:
1. Dwayne Harris– Harris has been explosive and making plays in camp. He also offers a solid option as a punt returner too. Has experience from the 2011 season returning kicks as a rookie which provides value. At this point in camp, I give Harris the edge over Ogletree as the 3rd WR.
2. Kevin Ogletree– The most experienced of the group and at the start of camp, the 3rd WR spot was his to lose. So far he has been quiet and I don’t think he is taking ownership of the position. While he has been reliable, Harris provides more excitement and Beasley is breathing down his neck. Ogletree needs to step it up a bit.
3. Cole Beasley– The SMU undrafted WR was off to a great start in camp untill he left camp to take care of some personal stuff. That unexpected move does create some doubt about this guy but he has consistently made plays during camp and appears to be a good option as a punt returner. A great route runner and it will be difficult for Dallas to eliminate him.
4. Tim Benford– An undrafted WR out of Tennessee Tech has suddenly stepped up and put his name in the running for the 3rd WR spot. Had a great scrimmage Sunday in Oxnard catching two TD passes. Shows nice hands and getting himself noticed of late.
5. Raymond Radway– Radway had an outstanding preseason last year untill suffering a tragic injury in the last preseason game. This year he has started slowly and while Benford is soaring up like a rocket, Radway is picking up steam very deliberately like a freight train. He gets better each day and it seems his best football may be just ahead. Look for Radway to impress again this year in preseason games.
6. Danny Coale– The drafted rookie is just now returning from a broken foot that occurred in OTAs. The Cowboys really don’t know what they have in Coale yet but they are about to find out. Off to a very slow start due to the injury but should get an opportunity to prove himself in the next few weeks.
7. Andre Holmes– So far a disappointment. A practice squad stand out last year came in and failed his conditioning test which got him off to a very slow start. He just doesn’t look ready to be an NFL WR yet but he still has time to prove himself. Needs to start making plays and soon or he will be back to the practice squad.
8. Donavon Kemp– Just haven’t heard much from this guy in camp however he made a nice TD catch in the scrimmage Sunday that makes me move him ahead of Hakim. A long shot at this time.
9. Saalim Hakim– Currently out with a hand injury. Hakim attracts attention because of his outstanding speed but the fact is he is an inexperienced player that is a project at the end of the day. He just isn’t ready yet and may make a good practice squad member this year.
The Cowboys play their first preseason game Monday night against the Raiders and it will be a good opportunity for these WRs to make their case to be on the 53 man roster.