If the Dallas Cowboys want to provide Tony Romo with a reliable secondary option to the big three of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, they must give 2012 fifth-round pick Danny Coale a shot at the No. 3 receiver job.
Though the Cowboys' first-round pick Morris Claiborne has thrown around the idea of playing some receiver in addition to cornerback, that is not a likely scenario. And according to head coach Jason Garrett, via Tom Orsborn of MySanAntonio.com, it sounds like Coale definitely isn't out of the picture for the 2012-13 season.
"He's in the mix," Garrett said when asked about the possibility of Coale as the team's No. 3 next season.
After losing Laurent Robinson to the Jacksonville Jaguars during the free-agency period, the Cowboys need another chain-moving target that can make plays if opposing coverages blanket the primary targets.
Coale was a four-year contributor on successful Hokies teams.
He increased his receiving yard total in each of his collegiate seasons dating back to 2008 and finished with 904 yards in 2011.
While they do have similar shiftiness and possess an innate knack of getting open down the field, Coale isn't necessarily a "Welker-type" receiver.
He measured in at 6'0'' and 200 pounds at the combine in February and has more downfield speed.
Coale averaged 15.1 yards per catch for Virginia Tech last season and finished the 2009 season with a game-breaking 20.5 yards per grab in 2009.
He could be an underneath option in the Cowboys offense, but one facet of Coale's collegiate experience will likely translate to the Cowboys offense and help his chances of becoming a well-rounded contributor in Big D.
"I played with a couple of quarterbacks at Virginia Tech who had the same ability to extend plays,” Coale said. “So I know the importance of keeping the routes open and working until the whistle has blown. I keep working to get open. That's something I like about his game.
Somethings tells me the Cowboys will like Coale's game, too.
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