The Cowboys lucked out with scrap heap WR Laurent Robinson in 2011, may need similar fortune in 2012

Back when I was trying to figure out the Cowboys’ pre-draft depth chart, I reached out to Raf over at Cowboys Nation for his thoughts on which wide receivers were most likely to stick.  Here was his feedback:

Kevin Ogletree

1.  Raymond Radway — had the team made, but his injury was ugly.  Don’t know if he’ll play this year.  He’s number one if he’s close.  He’s what they want, tall, smooth, a good leaper and eats up CB cushions. At least he did.  He had the equivalent of the Joe Thiesmann injury, so we’ll see.

2.  Kevin Ogletree — he’s one of the top “black hats” entering 2012, guys the fans hate.  Was not ready to start when Austin and Bryant got injured last year.  Ran crappy routes.  Ego the size of Montana but no work ethic.  That’s a lethal combination.  Still, he has skill.

3.  Dwayne Harris — Good route runner.  Good hands.  Not explosive, however.  That’s not good for a slot guy. Needs guys ahead of him to go down or somehow needs to shave a tenth off his 40 time.

4.  Don’t know anything about Andre Holmes, but…

5.  Teddy Williams — I have no idea how this guy sticks.  Converted track athlete, which is probably why Dallas has been patient.  Still, I have seen nothing to advocate for him.

Since then, the Cowboys drafted Danny Coale in the 5th round, and signed 4 undrafted free agents: Cole Beasley, Tim Benford, Saalim Hakim, and Donavan Kemp.  Williams is now listed on the Cowboys’ roster as a CB.

I think the general consensus (or hope) among Cowboys fans is that Danny Coale will step up and be that #3 guy.  However, if recent history is any indicator, that’s unlikely to happen.  Over the last 5 years, 18 wide receivers have been drafted in the 5th round.  Only 2 provided significant contributions in their rookie season:

Player Team Round Overall Year Rec Yards TD
Denarius Moore Raiders 5 148 2011 33 618 5
Johnny Knox Bears 5 140 2009 45 527 5
Jeremy Kerley Jets 5 153 2011 29 314 1
Aundrae Allison Vikings 5 146 2007 8 122 0
Riley Cooper Eagles 5 159 2010 7 116 1
Steve Breaston Cardinals 5 142 2007 8 92 0
Legadu Naanee Chargers 5 172 2007 8 69 0
Kenny McKinley Broncos 5 141 2009 3 32 0
Niles Paul Redskins 5 155 2011 2 25 0
Kealoha Pilares Panthers 5 132 2011 0 0 0
David Reed Ravens 5 156 2010 0 0 0
Kerry Meier Falcons 5 165 2010 0 0 0
Jarret Dillard Jaguars 5 144 2009 0 0 0
Brooks Foster Rams 5 160 2009 0 0 0
Kenneth Moore Lions 5 136 2008 0 0 0
Matthew Slater Patriots 5 153 2008 0 0 0
David Clowney Packers 5 157 2007 0 0 0
Roy Hall Colts 5 169 2007 0 0 0
TOTALS         143 1915 12
AVG         8 106 1

More after the jump…

Radway, Harris, and Holmes have zero combined receptions in their careers.  Ogletree, in 2011, was beaten out for the #3 spot by a guy they picked up off the street 4 days before the season began.  Ogletree finished the 2011 season with 15 catches for 164 yards and no TD’s.

The #3 WR has become a position in the NFL that has grown in importance, as most teams have at least one reserve that can play.  By my count, there are 25 teams that will likely head into the 2012 season with a veteran player as their #3.  Here’s that list, and where Ogletree would rank yardage-wise in comparison:

Player Team Receptions Yards TD
Doug Baldwin Seahawks 51 788 4
Deion Branch Patriots 51 702 5
Early Doucet Cardinals 54 689 5
Jason Avant Eagles 52 679 1
David Nelson Bills 61 658 5
James Jones Packers 38 635 7
Lance Moore Saints 52 627 8
Titus Young Lions 48 607 6
Jordan Shipley (2010 numbers) Bengals 52 600 3
Josh Cribbs Browns 41 518 4
David Gettis Panthers 37 508 3
Harry Douglas Falcons 39 498 1
Legedu Naanee Dolphins 44 467 1
Michael Jenkins Vikings 38 466 3
Arrelious Benn Buccaneers 30 441 3
Brandon Gibson Rams 36 431 1
Mike Thomas Jaguars 44 415 1
Randy Moss 49ers 28 393 5
Earl Bennett Bears 24 381 1
Vincent Brown Chargers 19 329 2
Andre Caldwell Bengals 37 317 3
Emmanuel Snaders Steelers 22 288 2
Jacoby Ford Raiders 19 279 1
Jonathan Baldwin Chiefs 21 254 1
Josh Morgan Redskins 15 220 1
Kevin Ogletree Cowboys 15 164 0

The other 7 teams could potentially have a rookie as their 3.  Here are the rookies that could see significant action in Year 1:

Player Team Round Overall
Kendall Wright Titans 1 20
Stephen Hill Jets 2 43
Rueben Randle Giants 2 63
DeVier Posey Texans 3 68
TY Hilton Colts 3 92
Danny Coale Cowboys 5 152
Tommy Streeter Ravens 6 198

Adam Caplan of The Sideline View recently listed the top available free agents.  Jacoby Jones could be a decent option, but the rest of the list of WR’s is crap du jour.

The Cowboys were extremely fortunate last year when the Chargers cut Laurent Robinson. They swooped in quickly, and Robinson had a breakout season as the team’s #3 WR, catching 54 balls for 858 yards and a whopping 11 TD’s.  That production is not going to be matched this year from their 3, and the Cowboys may need similar luck from the scrap heap this season to even come close.

37 Comments

  1. […] way you lean, both Bryant and Austin HAVE TO stay healthy, this year more than any other.  The Cowboys already don’t have a player currently on their roster that is a surefire 3rd recei….  If they lose one of their top 2 WRs, defenses can load up on the remaining WR and Witten, […]

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  9. […] this week, we discussed the Cowboys’ tenuous situation at the third WR position.  Whether or not the Cowboys already have their 3 on their roster, I think we were almost all in […]

  10. AustonianAggie says:

    I agree, counting on a 5th rounder is a bad plan anyway. Dallas is definitely holding on to these guys because they believe they can develop, but none of this is adding up. Most fans think Olgetree won’t make the roster, Radaway won’t recover from his injury, Andre Holmes is a coaches favorite but no one else has any reason to believe, and I can’t believe Teddy Williams is still around. Teddy wouldn’t be here except for the 90 player roster deal.

    However, the real flaw in Dallas, with Robinson catching 11 TDs was just how bad Dallas was scoring on running plays in the red zone. With our new guards, FB and all that business hopefully Dallas won’t have to rely on Romo + Robinson for 11 redzone connections

  11. […] talked about roster breakdowns recently.  Jimmy Bama has a good post up about Dallas and their WR position.  Wow, I didn’t realize how ugly things are.  They have a great pair of starters in Bryant […]

  12. Juz Sayin says:

    i THINK hEATH eVANS IS a bIGGER hATER THAN jIMMY.

  13. Blue Eyed Devil says:

    I’m most interested in Andre Holmes and Raymond Radway. These two have the prototypical size/speed that the Cowboys have always prized and they have a full package of skills – not a 1-trick pony like Ogletree.

    As UDFAs they had zero chance of making an impact in 2011. But with a full off-season I’m very interested to see what techniques they can learn from Jimmy Robinson.

    I think them very similar to what Sam Hurd and Miles Austin were when they joined the team as UDFAs. The #1 thing I want to see this training camp is how they take (or don’t take) that big next step from potential to production.

  14. mastermind says:

    Wow, an article with facts depth and true objectivity. Kudos to u jimmyk, I didn’t know u had it in u. Great read thanx for the info.

    1. JimmyY? says:

      Thats not necessary,

      I’d be the first to call out Jimmy Bias, bust this was a good observant piece, with out any eagle fan bleed through.

      If we rag him when he rights slanted pieces we owe it to him and ourselves to praise him when something truly good is written.

      liked the piece Jimmy keep more like this coming.

  15. PITTEAGLE says:

    Id like to see how previous tall eagles linebackers have stacked up against tight ends in the past and how much does height make a difference or if it is mostly not being able to keep up with jason witten, jake ballard, and fred davis.

    1. Wrong post, ha.

      1. PITTEAGLE says:

        haha i know just all this talk about the third wide receiver started making me think about the tight end as a third option.

  16. NYG_slater says:

    grats on the espn nfc east shout-out. keep up the pro journalizin jimmy.

    1. Thanks. That’s 3 from Graz in the last month, although he disagreed with me on one, and was luke-warm on this last one, ha. I talk to him whenever he covers Philly games. Really good guy.

      Mosley would have never linked to an independent blog like this.

      1. ProtoTyler says:

        Mosley…I’m quite glad he is gone.

  17. brisulph says:

    Jimmy just be hating on the Star… don’t be so jelly of the shining beacon of Football Mecca.

    1. BBI says:

      What’s terrible is that I read this without seeing who wrote it, and thought it was serious lol

      1. brisulph says:

        which just highlights how ridiculous the Cowboy fans have been around these parts lately.

  18. Mike says:

    I dunno. I think we also have to remember that Robinson did alot of his damage while Miles Austin was out. 1/3 of his catches and yards, and 5 of his 11 TDs, came in the 4 week stretch when Austin was out. He caught 26 balls last year in games in which Austin played. Still scored 6 TDs, though, which could be tougher to replace.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboys need depth. It’s likely that Austin or Bryant will go down at some point, so the third is a worry. But I also don’t think that they need to go out and sign a guy like Jacoby Jones, who’s only proven that he’s really not that good.

    Instead, they need to focus on actually developing some depth. Giving the young guys a shot. I think there’s a good chance Tony Romo can make it work with them. At least, as long as they’re not as “stupid” as Kevin Ogletree.

  19. Jimmer says:

    Guys can be found 5th round or later and produce. Devone Bess, Marques Colston, Steve Johnson all produced in their rookie year.

    1. ProtoTyler says:

      Johnson actually wasn’t productive until 2010. his third year. No one is saying its impossible but its just not likely.

      1. Jimmer says:

        You are right on Johnson, my bad. Yeah not very common. Was just naming guys off the top of my head. I think Coale can have around 30 catches and 450 yards this year if he earns the 3rd spot.

        1. ProtoTyler says:

          Well considering the health issues that Dez and Miles have had, if Coale gets the 3rd spot he had better be ready to produce.

  20. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    If Bryant can take a step forward and Miles can return to what he was without injury, then I’m not so sure they need anything other than an adequate #3.

    1. Austin has become one of the more underrated players in the game. Awesome player when he’s right. You can add Witten to that mix too. Very good 1-2-3. Right now it’s a very good group, again, if healthy. They could be scary if they had a great 3, but that’s currently missing.

      1. Blue Eyed Devil says:

        Dallas should be much more worried about the O-line than WR3.

        If you read Bob Sturm you know that it’s the 2WR 2TE set that has been by far and away the most productive for he Cowboys over the past 3 years. What the Garrett offense does best is make you guess run/pass and do the opposite.

        If the O-line can establish the run and make safeties creep towards the LOS then you don’t need a 3rd WR because Austin and Bryant both know how to toast single-coverage.

        1. We definitely agree on the OL.

    2. Jimmer says:

      I agree about needing just an adequate #3. If Bryant and Austin can stay healthy they will make up for some of the lost production. Keep in mind Robinson did a lot of his damage last year when Austin was out.

  21. Shaun says:

    Why is Manningham not on this list? He was the Giants’ #3 WR right?

    1. It’s a projection of who the #3 receivers will be heading into 2012, using their 2011 stats. Manningham is projected to start in SF. Some of the projections are somewhat debatable (this being one example), but I put Manningham ahead of Randy Moss.

  22. TK19 says:

    I don’t think the Cowboys will have a true #3 WR this year. I believe they will have to get that production from a platoon of players. Radway, Coale, Harris and Ogletree will probably all get a chance to take the spot, but ultimately it will probably be a combination of 2 or 3 guys who man the spot.

    Witten and Hanna will also be asked to pick up some of the production lost in Robinson. Also, hopefully Austin and Bryant will be able to stay healthy (something neither of them did last year and one of the reasons for Robinson getting so many targets).

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