Analysis

Who Will Be the Dallas Cowboys’ Third Receiver This Season?

Cowboys Receivers

Going into the 2022 season, there are uncertainties surrounding the Dallas Cowboys receiving corps for the first time in a while.

The team traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns this offseason leaving some snaps up for grabs. In turn, CeeDee Lamb rose to the top wide receiver depth chart after playing mostly in the slot during his first two seasons. 

The question that lies ahead for the Cowboys is who takes their third wide receiver spot? The Cowboys prioritize using three wide receivers, having done so 65% of the time last season. That split ranked 11th in the NFL. In 2020, they used three receivers 71% of the time, which was fifth in the NFL. 

Dak Prescott also spreads the ball around a ton, so the third receiver should see plenty of targets. 58% of wide receiver targets last year went to Cooper and Lamb, while 42% went to the rest of the room.  With Michael Gallup likely to miss some time recovering from a torn ACL, the WR3 position will be more vital this year than ever. 

There are four players likely in contention for that role for the Cowboys.

James Washington

The former Oklahoma State Cowboy and Pittsburgh Steelers product signed with his hometown Cowboys this offseason. Instead of signing a long-term deal, Washington signed a prove-it deal for one year, $1.1875 million. 

Dallas has emphasized size at this position,” said T.J. McCreight, The 33rd Team’s Head of Scouting. “Washington is only 5-11 but he plays much bigger with his length and leaping ability. He has deceptive speed to separate down the field and he is excellent at tracking the deep ball.” 

Washington posted an 11.9 average depth of target last year, which was 33rd in the NFL and was higher than any other current Cowboy.

Jalen Tolbert

A true vertical threat selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft, Tolbert drew a lot of comparisons to Michael Gallup during the pre-draft process. 

“Tolbert had an outstanding career at [South Alabama],” McCreight said. “He is an explosive player with good speed and – similar to Washington- plays big. I love how he can compete for the ball in the air.” 

Likely to be used in the slot this season, Tolbert averaged 53.6 yards per game out of the slot last year at South Alabama, which ranked 24th in the FBS.

Simi Fehoko

A fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Fehoko was a weapon on the outside for the Stanford Cardinal. During his rookie season, Fehoko was buried on the depth chart and didn’t record a single catch in his five appearances. 

“Fehoko is another size wideout from Stanford,” McCreight said. “He has big play ability and some mismatch qualities with his strength and length. He does need to gain some experience as an NFL route runner.” 

The addition of Fehoko gives the Cowboys the added element of size to a room with smaller players.

TJ Vasher

Vasher was undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2021. After signing with the Cowboys in May of 2021, Vasher ended up on the non-football injury list on cut-down day. After missing the 2021 season, Vasher has made plays during training camp

“TJ Vasher is a BIG man,” McCreight said. “He will use his frame to box out defenders and compete for the ball. His play speed is just average and he will need to have a good camp to make the club.”

Like Fehoko, Vasher could earn some reps thanks to his size and playmaking ability in contested situations.

Tyler Forness contributed to this report. 

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