(Editor’s Note: In conjunction with the DallasCowboys.com position series, here’s a look back at how each player performed last season, beginning with the wide receivers.)
Dez Bryant– Another 12,000-plus-yard, 10-plus-touchdown season for the Cowboys’ star offensive threat. Bryant followed up a 92-catch, 1,382-yard, 12-touchdown 2012 season with 93 catches for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He seemed to have a better grasp of the offense in 2013 and was a more consistent player, particularly when the ball got near the goal line, remaining one of the elite receivers in the league. Terrance Williams– Williams surprised many by not only contributing his rookie year, but working his way quickly from third receiver to second receiver after injuries to Miles Austin. He finished with 44 catches for 736 yards and five touchdowns. To put that in perspective, that’s one less catch, 175 more yards and one less touchdown than Bryant had his rookie year. Cole Beasley– Beasley finally got involved in the offense more significantly, but many are calling for more looks for the shifty slot threat. He was a complete mismatch for linebackers trying to guard him in the slot, totaling six catches in two different games. Beasley had 39 catches on just 55 targets, amassing 368 yards and the first two receiving touchdowns of his career. Dwayne Harris– He was easily the Cowboys’ best special teams player and became one of the best returners in the league. No doubt he made more of a mark as a returner and cover player than as a receiver, finishing top three in the league in both kick return and punt return average. But he still came up big a couple times as a receiver, scoring the game-winning touchdown against the Vikings. Devin Street– Street left Pittsburgh, the same school attended by Larry Fitzgerald, as the team’s all-time leader in receptions with 202. He finished with 51 catches for 854 yards and seven touchdowns last season, despite playing in just 10 games as a senior after shoulder and elbow injuries. The team captain, who ran a 4.55 at the NFL Combine, was a full-time starter since his sophomore season. Jamar Newsome– The 26-year-old’s seen a lot of the NFL without playing in many games. He went undrafted in 2011 and has since spent most of his career on practice squads with the Jaguars, Steelers, Chiefs and, most recently, the Cowboys. He hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2012, when he suited up six times with two starts for Kansas City. He also played in two games in 2011 for Jacksonville. LaRon Byrd– The last time out didn’t go as planned for Byrd, who missed all of last season with the Cardinals after a concussion. There were high hopes in Arizona for the athletically gifted Byrd, who possesses the size and speed to intrigue at receiver, and the Cowboys will hope they can tap into that. Tim Benford– The Tennessee Tech receiver’s been a familiar face in the Cowboys’ locker room, but not on the active roster. He’s been around the Cowboys’ organization since going undrafted in 2012 and spent all of last season on the practice squad. His work’s all come in the preseason, where he’s had a couple flashes.
- L’Damian Washington – Washington totaled 59 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns last season for Missouri. The tall and thin receiver was a starter the last two years in college and seemed to progress throughout his career with the Tigers. He’s also blazing fast, running a sub 4.4 40-yard dash at Missouri’s Pro Day.
Chris Boyd– He missed the 2013 season with Vanderbilt after getting dismissed from the team, but he made a heck of a tandem with Jordan Matthews the previous year, starting all 13 games with 50 catches for 774 yards and five touchdowns. He wasn’t able to participate fully in the NFL Combine from an injury and ended up going undrafted.