I know T.O. is a very talented WR, but I think the Cowboys will be fine without him. Not all the pressure has to be on the WR’s to make up for the loss of him. The Cowboys have 2 very good offensive TE’s in Witten and Bennett, and have one of the best RB groups in the NFL. Getting Felix Jones back will play a big role in making up for T.O.’s production. Just keep all that in mind as you read this.
1. Roy Williams. He’s no Terrell Owens in terms of flash, but he’s easily one of the more capable wide receivers in the sport, and has always been viewed as a top receiver on a horrible team (the Lions). Health issues aside (he’s generally known to miss a few games per year), Williams has as much raw talent as nearly any receiver in the game. As his chemistry with Tony Romo builds, I expect him to be a legitimate number one WR in Dallas.
2. Patrick Crayton. Crayton has progressively improved in each of the last few seasons, and I hope that 2009 will bring the same. He’s 30 years old now, but little playing time in his earlier years has kept him fresh, and he’s been a very solid role player in Dallas, making nice contributions at the number two wide receiver position last year. I expect to see Crayton with another 500-700 yard season, and he’ll be alright in Dallas.
3. Miles Austin Age:25 (6’3″ 216 lbs 4.47 40 yard dash). This kid has a ton of potential, let;s just hope he can utilize it now that we need him to. I have read reports that he is battling Crayton for the #2 spot, but he is currently splitting time as the #3 with Hurd. I would definitely like to see him lining up on the outside, with Crayton and Hurd handling the slots. He is widely considered the deep threat of this receiving group, which is a very accurate statement. He only had 13 receptions (in 12 games) last year, but they were for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns. His YPC last season was 21.4.
Austin’s may end up seeing many of the passes that Owens saw in previous seasons; the deep Romo bombs are a nice fit given Austin’s raw speed, and lining up in the slot will throw many offenses off should Austin make an impact in Dallas.
4. Sam Hurd Age:24 (6’2″ 205 lbs 4.61 40 yard dash). Seems that he is doing the same thing he did last year, creating a huge buzz during training camp. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy (starting to see a pattern?) this year. This is a young guy with great hands, unlike “the player”, as Parcells would say. He is making great catches in training camp, and everyone has high hopes for him. Like I had stated in the previous paragraph, he is splitting time as the #3 with Austin.
While he may just be a 4th receiver, Romo likes to spread the offense out, and I think he’ll be a valuable role player in Dallas this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see about 30-40 yards per game, with a few touchdowns to go with it.
I’m gonna end it there, since these are the 4 receivers that are pretty much guaranteed a roster spot, and gonna be the top 4. The way I would prefer for it to work out would be Williams and Austin on the outside, Crayton in the slot, and Hurd as the #4, but I don’t know if that is going to be how it works out. I could definitely see the Cowboys leaving Crayton as the #2.