Miles Austin Leads the Pack: Grading the 2009 Dallas Cowboys Receivers

Jonathan BalesAnalyst IApril 9, 2010

MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 04:  Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys attends Madden Bowl XVI at Clevelander Hotel on February 4, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The first five parts of our “Grading the ‘Boys” Series saw us analyze the success of the Cowboys’ offensive linemen, running backs, cornerbacks, and safeties in 2009.  Today we will delve into the wide receivers.

The 2009 season saw the simultaneous emergence of one star—Miles Austin—and the decline of another—Roy Williams.  Williams’ fall has been so dramatic that we seldom hear of a fan who even wants him on the team.  However, we think he has a chance to turn it around in 2010.

Our 2009 wide receiver rankings are based less on totals and more on efficiency.  A team’s No. 1 wide receiver will get more opportunities than the No. 2, who will get more than the No. 3, and so on.  Thus, reception and yardage totals (although very important to a team) are less indicative of a player’s efficiency than yards per attempt or reception percentage.



  • Chart Key:  TA=Thrown at, Yds/Att=Yards per attempt, TD and Drop %=Percentage of attempts which resulted in a touchdown or drop, respectively, YAC/Rec=Yards after catch per reception
  • The best stats are circled in blue and the worst in red.
  • We are not grading Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree due to a very limited sample size (21 combined targets).  Their numbers are not circled in either blue or red.
  • The final grade is weighted 4:1 in terms of receiving versus run blocking.



Roy Williams

Receiving:  D-

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There’s no way to get around it: Roy Williams was atrocious in 2009.  He will be the first to admit it (and has).  He dropped 10 balls on the season—more than one per 10 thrown to him.  This stat, along with his YAC/Rec, yards per attempt, and yards per reception were all the worst on the team.

Williams worst statistic, however, was the putrid 46.2 percent of passes his way that resulted in a completion.  Even for an outside receiver, this is unacceptable.

So why not an "F" grade?  Well, Williams did score seven touchdowns, which isn’t too bad for just 43 receptions.

Altogether, Williams’ struggles are due more to a lack of confidence than a lack of talent.  We will see if he can find the necessary chemistry with Tony Romo in 2010.  If not, it will be his last year in Dallas.

Run Blocking:  B

Williams has always been an adequate blocker.  He doesn’t possess the ferocity of Hines Ward, but he does do a good job of positioning his body between the ball-carrier and the defender.


Miles Austin

Receiving:  A

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Austin led Dallas in just about every important receiving category.  His 10.4 yards per attempt, 8.7 touchdown percentage, 2.2 drop percentage, and 7.2 yards after catch/reception are all outstanding.

There is really no apparent weakness in Austin’s game, outside of perhaps a lack of experience.  He needs to prove he can sustain his ‘09 production over the course of an entire season, but we have no doubts that he will do just that.

Run Blocking:  B

Austin is like Williams—not a top tier, “knock your socks off” blocker, but very willing and able.  Austin’s attitude is such that we should be able to count on him to give great effort in the run game, regardless of his star status.


For the rest of our wide receiver grades, visit .