It’s going to be tough recognizing anyone Dak Prescott is throwing to in Dallas this year.
After releasing Dez Bryant this spring, the Dallas Cowboys completed a gutting of a receiving corps that struggled to do much last year. A new era in Cowboys football is upon us, and it’s going to be mostly anymous until someone can stick out. It’s safe to say Dak Prescott has his work cut out for him this season.
It’s a proverbial who’s-who of who? in Dallas. That’s not to say things can’t change.
Former Cowboys quarterback, now turned analyst, Tony Romo recalls having a similar situation when he was the signal caller in Dallas. In 2009 the Cowboys lost Terrell Owens and Miles Austin became Romo’s number one guy.
Austin went from being barely featured in the offense, to back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, in which he posted a combined 150 receptions, 2,361 yards and 18 touchdowns.
However, the biggest difference between Romo’s situation compared Prescott’s is Romo had an extremely reliable tight end in Witten, who was in his prime.
Romo believes a receiver similar to Austin could emerge for Dallas this season, but the Cowboys will need to dig deep to find their guy.
Since being drafted in 2016 and becoming the man under center, Prescott utilized Bryant and Witten significantly in the pass game. With both gone, he is going to need to find a new favorite target.
This upcoming season Prescott will have the opportunity to throw to Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson, K.D. Cannon and Lance Lenoir.
Out of that entire group, Hurns is the only receiver to ever eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.
But, Hurns is nearly four years removed from his career year and is coming off a season in which he suffered a torn ACL. Austin is another receiver the Cowboys added this offseason. The former Los Angeles Ram is coming off of his worst statistical season and has never lived up to expectations, after being a top-10 draft selection.
Williams has been with the Cowboys since 2013. Last season he played in every single game, but failed to score for the first time in his career. The former third-round draft selection has played in all 16 games in each season since entering the league. Earlier this offseason, he was arrested and charged for public intoxication. It doesn’t appear that his future with the organization is in jeopardy, unless one of the younger receivers emerges into something special.
The veteran of the unit is Beasley, who went undrafted in 2012, but was signed by the Cowboys. The 5-8 wideout’s best season came in Prescott’s rookie campaign, where he had a career high in receptions (75), yards (833) and tied his career high in touchdowns (5). Despite being undersized, Beasley has had a decent career out of the slot and could become Prescott’s security blanket.
Gallup is easily the most intriguing option to become Prescott’s favorite target. Dallas selected Gallup in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While at Colorado State, the 6-1 playmaker was a stud. In two seasons he hauled 176 receptions, 2,690 yards and 21 touchdowns.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gallup was the top graded wide receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has a great combination of size and strength to make an impact at the next level. One thing that really stands out is his physicality, which has been compared to Bryant’s.
Prescott already started building chemistry with his guys. According to a few Instagram accounts, he was recently training at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, with Thompson, Lenoir, Gallup and Hurns.
Bottom line is, it will take time before a number one receiver emerges. Prescott will need to spread the ball around the field and Dallas’ offense is going to need to be creative. In the meantime, he’s putting in the work early to expedite the process.