Cowboys vs. Raiders: Young Dallas WRs Must Capitalize on Absence of Stars

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IAugust 13, 2012

Oct 2, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) is ruled out of bounds attempting to make a catch against Detroit Lions cornerback Eric Wright (21) at Cowboys Stadium. The Lions beat the Cowboys 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

The Dallas Cowboys kick off their preseason schedule against the Oakland Raiders Sunday evening, and the game will be extremely important for the young Dallas wideouts.

Miles Austin has already been ruled out for the matchup, and Dez Bryant is a game-time decision because of his sore hamstring. Even if Bryant ends up playing, it will be in very limited action.

This means that the bulk of the playing time will be handled by the Cowboys' gaggle of inexperienced wideouts who are all battling for the third receiver spot.

There will be no better opportunity for these guys to make an impression.

It's still early on in camp to the point that an outstanding in-game performance can easily erase a few bad practices. And in the same fold, a player that's been impressing in camp can ruin his stock with a bad showing.

Kevin Ogletree is the leader in the clubhouse for the third receiver role. But, as any Dallas fan would tell you, he hasn't proven anything yet.

The guy has been labeled a potential breakout star in Dallas for what seems like years, but he only has 25 career receptions in three seasons.

Still, Ogletree has the inside track because of his experience. However, he still has to take advantage of opportunities like these to secure his spot.

If he plays well, it'll likely go a long way in capturing the coveted third-string role. But if he has a bad game, it will only dig him a deeper hole, one that could ultimately result in the Cowboys cutting him.

However, Ogletree isn't the only young wideout who has a lot to prove.

Andre Holmes is attempting to make the roster, and a good performance in the preseason would do a lot to make the organization forget about his failed conditioning test.

Former SMU Mustang, Cole Beasley has been making waves in camp. He's been explosive and has even earned a few first-team reps. Although he hasn’t done anything in an actual game, he could cement himself on the roster with a strong performance.

Raymond Radway and Dwayne Harris have been through camp before with Dallas, so they know how important these preseason games are. Both have had up and down practices thus far and a solid showing by both would do wonders for their stock.

Fifth-round pick Danny Coale would normally factor into this discussion, but he's still battling injuries and will sit out this game.

Each of these young wideouts has a lot to prove this week, and they have a great opportunity to do so with the stars sitting out with injury.

One of them needs to step up too, or else the Cowboys could look elsewhere to fill their third-string receiver void. Because as receivers coach Jimmy Robinson told the Fort Worth Star Telegram, they’re not exactly confident in the current group.

“I don’t know if ‘confident’ is the right word. I’m hopeful,” Robinson said. “This preseason is going to tell the tale on that … I think we’re moving in the right direction. But we’re nowhere close to where we need to be yet to be a championship football team.”