When the Cowboys decided Laurent Robinson's contract requirements would be too rich for their pockets, the third receiver position became open for the taking. Prior to the draft and during free agency, a lot of names were mentioned as possibilities. Jerry Jones threw in practice squad resident Andre Holmes as a candidate he was very high on that was ready to step up.
The Cowboys brought back Kevin Ogletree (which I'm still trying to figure out why) to compete for the spot along with fifth round selection Danny Coale. Unfortunately Coale broke his foot during early OTA workouts but he's expected to return by training camp. There are other players in the mix like Raymond Radway, Dwayne Harris and Tim Benford but the question is are they ready for and can they be counted on for major roles.
One name I failed to mention was Cole Beasley, an undrafted receiver out of SMU. But the diminutive 5'8" player has not only shown up in a big way, he's getting noticed in the OTA's and mini-camp. Everyday it seems that Beasley is making plays, garnering attention and ultimately he will force the Cowboys hands.
What I love about Beasley is that he brings an interesting skill set and experience level while he played slot receiver for June Jones. I went back and looked at some SMU game footage and it's clear how Jones helped prepare Beasley for this moment. Jones' experience in wide-open, run-and-shoot offenses is well known in football circles and I believe that's helping Beasley adjust and start quickly.
While a senior at SMU, Beasley caught 86 passes for 1,040 yards and two touchdowns. If you watch his footage closely, it just seems he has a knack for finding holes and soft spots in defenses and getting himself open. I saw many plays where he killed defenses on short routes, he extended drives and you can see that burst and quickness he displays especially while turning the corner.
You look at his size and you see Wes Welker or Danny Armendola—small guys who overachieve with big effort. But when I look even closer at his game, I see the type of smart player Jason Garrett is looking for. It's an instant connection that just jumps out at you.
When you look at the success the Cowboys have had with undrafted rookies like Miles Austin, Dan Bailey and Tony Romo, I almost feel like this could be another diamond in the rough. I know it's only been rookie mini-camp, OTA's and workouts, but his play has been excellent.
For a player of Beasley's stature, it’s easy to envision defenses losing track of him running around out of the slot formation. He can bring a dimension that this offense hasn't had the opportunity to explore since Amendola's presence with the team. He would represent a sure handed option that could break the backs of defenses in crucial short yardage situations.
His effectiveness in short and intermediate routes can also expose defenses to the big play from guys like Dez Bryant and Miles Austin while opening up seam and drag routes for Jason Witten. For this offense, it would be a win-win situation if Beasley can continue his performance into training camp and the preseason.
As long as Beasley continues to get noticed, he's got a legitimate chance to make the Cowboys roster. In a year where the third through fifth receiver spots are up for grabs, his timing is perfect. By taking a chance on Cole Beasley, the timing could be perfect for the the Cowboys to discover another free agent gem.