While the Cowboys sent their first round pick to the Raiders for Amari Cooper, their wide receiver depth chart isn’t quite complete just yet. After the departures of numerous contributors, Dallas will likely be looking towards the NFL Draft for one more young weapon for quarterback Dak Prescott.
With the reliable veteran Cole Beasley gone to Buffalo, Dallas has two options at slot receiver moving forward. However, between Tavon Austin and Randall Cobb, neither are under contract past next season. This makes a prospect who projects well for slot reps their likely target.
While the Cowboys “X” and “Z” receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup can both make plays in all levels of the field, they’re missing a dynamic deep threat and ball carrier. If they can find a player who takes some reps in the slot while adding the versatility of being a seam threat and space player, their top three wide receivers will become an above average group.
I laid out wide receiver options for each of the Cowboys selections.
Round 2, Pick 58: Mecole Hardman or Terry McLaurin
Both Hardman and McLaurin ran 4.3s forty-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine, and had vertical success in college. While Hardman is the more natural slot and electric as a ball carrier, McLaurin offers a lot in terms of route running. Either one of them would provide a new dimension to the wide receiver room.
Round 3, Pick 90: Emanuel Hall or Stanley Morgan Jr.
Hall and Morgan offer different skill sets, but I’d take either one on this range. Hall might be the best deep threat in the entire NFL Draft, and has a level of explosiveness that defenses have to respect. He’s a bit under-developed as a route runner and in multiple alignments, but has the traits that suggest his best football is ahead of him.
Morgan is a nuanced route runner and separator. He’s had success in all levels of the field, but uncovers vertically due to his refinement.
Round 4, Pick 128/136: Darius Slayton or Gary Jennings Jr.
At Auburn, Darius Slayton mostly ran routes on the vertical plane while also being a threat in the screen game. His straight-line speed makes him an impressive downfield threat and ball carrier.
Gary Jennings Jr. proved he’s got the juice to win vertically with his performance at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. With a lot of experience playing in the slot and having success up the seam, he could be the perfect fit in the Cowboys offense.
Round 5, Pick 165: Hunter Renfrow or Diontae Johnson
Both natural slot receivers, Renfrow and Johnson have starter potential on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Renfrow is going to get open consistently and catch every pass in his radius, giving him the possession potential that made Cole Beasley so popular.
Johnson is a more dynamic athlete and took a lot of reps outside despite his size. Another successful route runner, Johnson offers more flair with the ball in his hands.
Round 7, Pick 241: Penny Hart or Ryan Davis
It will be a mistake if Dallas waits until the 7th round to take a wide receiver, but both Hart and Davis would provide solid value at this stage. While neither one is ultra-dynamic as an athlete, both have quick feet and can uncover in the intermediate. Their presence would provide depth behind Austin and Cobb, with potential for playing-time down the line.