When the 2010 NFL Draft came around, I was looking for my Cowboys to do anything that would've been able to help on offense and give them an advantage over the other great teams of the NFC. I was expecting Dallas to get a stud offensive lineman such as Oklahoma's Trent Williams or some help defensively, such as safety Eric Berry from Tennessee or some corners to groom for the future if Terence Newman moved on and Mike Jenkins were cut.
But I was surprised when commissioner Roger Goodell came to the podium and stated: "With the 24th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Oklahoma State." Wow.
This was the same kid who got caught up in an NCAA investigation stemming from lying about conversations with former Cowboys star Deion Sanders, and would be suspended for the remainder of his junior season in 2009. My first opinion on this kid was that he was going to follow in a long line of knucklehead receivers that are overpaid (Ochocinco, R. Moss), underperform and then run their mouths every Sunday. But I became a believer when I saw some of the 2008 All-American's highlights.
This kid is the real deal. In following Cowboys legends Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin who wore No. 88 before him, Dez Bryant has proven that he is indeed a budding star in the NFL as both a wide receiver and a outstanding kick and punt returner. Through 11 games, Bryant's stat lines are as follows: 44 receptions for 547 yards receiving with six touchdown receptions, an average of 12.4 yards per reception, and as a kick returner, he has returned 9 kicks for 186 yards with an average of 20.7 yards per return. As a punt returner, he has 15 returns for 215 yards and two touchdowns, with the longest being a 93-yard return for a touchdown against the Giants. My reasons that he deserves Offensive Rookie of the Year are as follows:
1.) His freakish talent as a wide reciever. Bryant has the ability to position his body up high or at any angle to make a catch, and make sure any ball thrown his way is his. He has the ability to beat smaller, faster corners on deep routes. He has proven to be the top receiving threat for the Cowboys' offense. The Saints paid so much attention to him, he was shut out of the game during the Cowboys' 30-27 loss on Thanksgiving.
2.) Runs after the catch. Bryant is listed at 6-2, 217 pounds, and has shown the ability to make a tough catch in traffic and break most arm tackles. A key to the wide receiver position is to be able to gain yards after contact. Even as a rookie season, Bryant does it as good as anyone in the league.
3.) Deadly kick returner. Bryant has emerged as a top-flight kick returner in the NFL. He has shown impressive breakaway ability, as he outran the entire kick coverage team of the Bears during a 27-20 loss in Chicago. Teams are starting to kick away from Bryant as each week goes by, due to his rapidly rising stock as a playmaker in the league.
The Cowboys will not make the playoffs, and will miss being able to try and become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. But in a season full of disappointment and heartbreak, this version of No. 88 may prove to be an indication that the 'Boys may have yet another legend on their hands and a bright spot in an otherwise lost season.
Special thanks to NFL.com and Bleacher Report for some content in this article.