Bryan Broaddus of Cowboys.com singled out WR Michael Gallup and TE Blake Jarwin when asked to name which pass-catchers have been in sync with QB Dak Prescott this spring. Dallas' WR and TE corps will look much different this season after the departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, who combined for 44.4% of the team's targets last year. Gallup, a 3rd-round rookie with an impressive combination of athleticism and college production, has a shot to emerge as the Cowboys' #1 WR in 2018. And Jarwin is in the mix for a significant role with Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim and Dalton Schultz as his only competition. We'll be keeping a close eye on this pass-catching group all summer.
For the 2nd straight year, the NFL has suspended Cowboys DT David Irving for the 1st 4 weeks of the regular season. Per multiple reports, this suspension comes under the league's substance-abuse policy. (Last year's was for PEDs.) Irving spent much of this offseason away from the team or working off to the side, with coaches revealing only that he was working through some "personal" issues. In his absence, former Raiders DT Jihad Ward saw reps with the 1st team. Ward could step in for Irving early this season if his intriguing play carries over into padded practices. Irving, meanwhile, posted big IDP numbers after missing the 1st quarter of last season. So he should remain on IDP radars. Whether he'll make sense in your league will depend on your scoring, lineup settings and roster depth.
Cowboys HC Jason Garrett expects WR Terrance Williams to be ready for the start of training camp next month. He underwent surgery earlier this offseason to repair a Jones fracture to his foot. That's an injury that's caused complications and setbacks for plenty of guys, so we'll be keeping a close eye on Williams when he hits the field. There's still a boatload of opportunity for him in a passing game that lost WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten. But it's been a rough offseason for Williams, between the foot injury and a May arrest.
Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is making strides this offseason but still has lots of work to do, HC Jason Garrett said Wednesday. "He's done a really good job improving over the course of his time here, he's a different player now than he was a couple years ago," Garrett said. "He just needs to play more football." Gathers missed the entire 2017 season after sustaining a concussion in August. He wasn't cleared until Week 7 and was too far behind at that point to contribute. Gathers didn't appear in a regular season game as a rookie in 2016, either, after focusing exclusively on basketball in high school and college. So he hasn't played in a meaningful football game since junior high. It's no surprise, then, that he needs work. There's upside in Gathers' 6'6, 285-pound frame and opportunity in Dallas with Jason Witten gone. But Gathers shouldn't be viewed as more than a late-round flier in early best-ball drafts.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with public intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident. Williams allegedly crashed his Lamborghini into a light pole and was later found riding an electric bike near his home. He was released on $369 bond, but we'll see if this earns him a suspension from the league. It's been a rough offseason for Williams, who also had surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his foot.
The Cowboys nabbed Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough in the 7th round. Scarbrough certainly checks the size and athleticism boxes. He goes 6’1, 228 pounds and earned an 86th percentile SPARQ score in the pre-draft process. He had an uneven career at ‘Bama, though, averaging 5.7 yards per carry but never topping 125 attempts or 812 yards in a season. He also comes with a lengthy injury history, including a broken leg in the 2016 National Championship and a pair of torn ACLs. Scarbrough is obviously stuck behind Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas. He’ll try to push Rod Smith for backup duties.
The Cowboys scooped Western Kentucky QB Mike White in the 5th round. After starting his college career at South Florida, White transferred to Western Kentucky. He started there the past 2 seasons, completing 66.4% of his passes for 8,540 yards, 63 TDs and 15 INTs. White’s 76.3% adjusted completion rate last year ranked 3rd among draft-eligible QBs, according to Pro Football Focus. He also earned PFF’s 6th-highest grade on deep throws. White isn’t very mobile (5th percentile SPARQ) and struggles when pressured, but there’s some developmental upside here. He’ll battle Cooper Rush for backup duties in Dallas.
The Cowboys added Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson in the 6th round. Wilson is 1 of our favorite day-3 sleepers at WR. After spending 2 years at Coffeyville Community College, he transferred to Boise State and became an immediate factor. Wilson led the Broncos with 11 receiving TDs in 2016 and ranked 2nd with 56 catches and 1,129 yards. He set new career highs with 83 grabs and 1,511 yards this past season. Only James Washington tallied more yardage. Wilson is a wiry 6’2, 197 pounds with average athleticism. But he can play outside the numbers or in the slot and is a savvy route runner with plus after-the-catch ability. He joins a Cowboys WR corps that’s in transition after losing Dez Bryant and adding 3rd-round rookie Michael Gallup and vet Allen Hurns. There’s room for Wilson to carve out a role here.
The Rams have traded WR Tavon Austin to the Cowboys in exchange for a 6th-round pick. The 8th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft has been a colossal bust, never topping 58 catches or 509 yards in a season. He's averaging a RB-like 8.7 yards per catch for his career. A special-teams and gadget player at this point, Austin is unlikely to emerge as a fantasy factor in Dallas.
The Cowboys selected Stanford TE Dalton Schultz with the last pick of the 4th round. Schultz never topped 23 catches, 222 yards on 3 TDs in any of his 3 college seasons. And he tested as a mediocre 42nd percentile athlete. Schultz is at least a willing and able blocker, which can help him get on the field. And there’s opportunity in Dallas with Jason Witten (likely) retiring.
The Cowboys selected Colorado State WR Michael Gallup in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. After spending 2 years at Butler community college, Gallup dominated as Colorado State’s lead receiver the past 2. He tallied 1,272 yards and 14 scores on 76 receptions in 2016. Then he ranked 3rd in the country with 100 catches and 5th with 1,418 yards last season. The 6’1, 205-pounder tested as a 63rd percentile athlete at the Combine. An advanced route runner with strong contested-catch and after-the-catch ability, Gallup looks like 1 of the most NFL-ready WRs in this year’s class. This is an ideal landing spot for Gallup with a talented, young QB in Dak Prescott and tons of targets up for grabs with Dez Bryant gone and Jason Witten (likely?) retired.
The Cowboys grabbed LB Leighton Vander Esch with the 19th pick of the NFL Draft. Vander Esch spent just 1 full season starting at Boise State but could start in the middle right away for Dallas. Jaylon Smith's likely best suited to play on the strong side, where he can move around the way he did in college. Weakside starter Sean Lee is heading into his age-31 season and will carry a huge cap number into 2019 (the final year on his contract).
Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones revealed on Monday that WR Terrance Williams had surgery to repair a broken 5th metatarsal in his foot. It's the dreaded Jones Fracture that has caused long-term issues for guys like Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins and Julian Edelman. There's no timetable for Williams' return, but Jones did say that he'd miss some of the offseason program. Dallas, of course, just signed Allen Hurns to compete for Williams' #2 WR job.
The Cowboys have signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year deal worth $12 million. Hurns joins an offense that saw only Dez Bryant crack 4 receptions per game last season. TE Jason Witten heads into his age-36 season coming off the fewest catches since his rookie year. WR Terrance Williams caught a career-high 53 balls while averaging a career-low 10.7 yards per reception. He's heading into just Year 2 of a 4-year contract and could be a cut candidate after 2018. Hurns' contract suggests he'll compete for the #2 WR job. He's worth a look in the double-digit rounds of early best-ball drafting but not an exciting fantasy football prospect.
The Jaguars have released WR Allen Hurns. Since topping 1,000 yards and scoring 10 times back in 2015, he's totaled just 961 yards and 5 TDs in the 2 seasons since. Hurns can make plays downfield and is only 26, so it shouldn't take him long to find a new home. Jacksonville, meanwhile, will move forward with Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole atop the WR depth chart.
Bills WR Deonte Thompson (shoulder) is active for today's playoff game against the Jaguars after entering the day questionable. The matchup is obviously horrible for Thompson's fantasy outlook, but he has been an 80+% playing-time guy in recent weeks.
Cowboys DT David Irving will miss his 4th straight game Sunday against the Eagles because of a concussion. That'll give him all offseason to recover. Let's hope it doesn't remain an issue into 2018.
Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (ankle) was limited in practice all week but isn’t listed on the final injury report. He’ll return for Sunday’s game against the Titans for a playoff tuneup after missing the past 6 weeks. WRs Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole remain better Week 17 fantasy plays. WR Marqise Lee (ankle) is out.
Cowboys HC Jason Garrett on Wednesday delivered a different message than owner/GM Jerry Jones seemed to earlier in the week. “Anybody who is healthy is going to play in this game,” Garrett said, per the team website. “If they’re not healthy, they won’t play in the game. If there’s a young guy who’s worthy of an opportunity, who’s earned that opportunity, he’ll get a chance to play in the ball game — and you’ll see that all throughout our roster. But we’re not just going to give a guy an opportunity because he’s young.” This situation is a prime example of why you should try to end your full-season fantasy league in Week 16. But if you're still going, you're probably going to want to play your primary Cowboys -- assuming they make sense.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested on Tuesday that his team might limit some starters and get younger players more snaps in this weekend's finale against the Eagles. "We should just see how the game goes, but we've got younger guys ... we have a need for them," Jones said. "We need to better understand their skills. But we'll just see how it goes." QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten are all candidates to play less than usual this weekend.
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