Dez Bryant just agreed to a five year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He will be in camp and was present when the Cowboys reported last weekend. This demonstrates his willingness to work immediately. He was the first first-round draft pick to sign, and obviously wanted to get to camp right away to learn the offense. Clearly he wants to be a major contributor this season. However, the question is, will he be a stud or dud in the NFL?
He was a breakout receiver in college at Oklahoma State known for his speed and touchdown catches. However, he had some character issues, and as a result of them, only played in first three games last season, as he was suspended the remainder of the season.
He is one of those make-or-break players. He can produce when he is on the field, but when he is making dumb decisions, he can hurt your team.
The Cowboys took a risk in drafting him as he fell into their laps in the first round. Will Dez reward the Cowboys with big plays, and a big target for Tony Romo? Jerry Jones sure hopes so.
He gave Dez number 88 to wear, the same number that Michael Irvin wore when he caught balls from Troy Aikman. We know how that ended. Both lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, and now are in the Hall of Fame in Canton. Will Romo finally step up now that he has great talent not only in Dez, but also in Miles Austin?
For Dez Bryant to be a stud in his rookie season and beyond, he must stay out of trouble. That's the first step. Next, he must give Romo a deep threat target, and be someone that will hold onto the ball.
Dez also must be a receiver that plays after the catch and sparks the Cowboys offense. He must give the fans in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium something to cheer about. Finally, he must earn the trust of Romo, Wade Phillips, and Jason Garrett, so the ball will be thrown his way, and that starts by holding onto the ball, being a leader, and staying out of trouble.
He already got into the news by saying "no" to Roy Williams, fellow Cowboys receiver, when Williams told him to carry his shoulder pads as part of rookie hazing. This could be good or bad.
It's good because he stood up for himself, but possibly bad, because he needs to respect veterans. I guess we'll see as the season goes on if Dez continues to stand up for himself, which he needs to do. But he also needs respect his teammates.
Another positive is he attended a quarterbacks-only part of training camp with Tony Romo, solely to catch balls. This shows that he really wants to learn and really wants Romo's trust. Hopefully, he continues to show this kind of hard work ethic.
If Dez Bryant turns out to be a dud, he will either under-perform, find himself in legal trouble, or feud with his teammates. That is definitely not what Cowboy fans want or need. They don't need another Terrell Owens, who dropped balls and was a distraction for that football team.
As the season approaches, and as Cowboys camp is now underway, keep an eye on Dez. He has real talent.
He just has to be smart with it.