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Eatman: Changing Tune Somewhat On Drafting WR Early

Posted May 5, 2014


IRVING, Texas -  When we first really started discussing the draft and the first-round possibilities I was arguing left and right about not taking a wide receiver.

And as we stand right now, I’m still not taking a receiver with the 16th pick. Don’t say – what if Sammy Watkins falls because he won’t. And even if Mike Evans falls, I just don’t think it’s the best fit for this team, but I certainly wouldn’t blast the pick.

A few weeks ago I might have. Maybe if this draft got pushed out to June I might be on board with taking receivers for the first few picks. Who knows what more time would do to a person.

I think I’m with everyone else when I say – can we just get to the draft already? Man the speculation is too much.

These extra two weeks have literally forced me to change my stance on taking a receiver. Before, I was fine without taking one in the first three rounds and now I’m starting to see the point of adding one early – early as in the first two days of the draft.

Honestly, it’s more about the depth chart than anything else. With Miles Austin gone, whether or not you cheered for that move, it still creates a personnel void that wasn’t replaced. And while Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris can be nice role players, and maybe even more than that, I still think this team needs some help at receiver.

The Cowboys are fortunate to have a pair of starters in Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. They should be one of the better 1-2 duos in the league, assuming Williams blossoms into the player the Cowboys are hoping he will. Personally, I have high expectations for Williams. I just think he did enough in Year 1 of his career to show he’s ready for more.

If that’s his rookie year, and most players improve dramatically the next season, Williams could be ready for a big-time breakout season.

However, you have to worry about Bryant’s nagging back issues. He’s a young guy that has battled through reoccurring problems. You wonder if there could be a time where surgery is needed.

And without Dez Bryant, the receiving corps looks vastly different. Without Dez Bryant, the offense looks different. Without Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are different. Less talent. Less playmakers. Less swag. Less everything.

Now, I’m not a believer in draft players for the “what-if” possibilities. If that’s the case, you’d always take a quarterback.

But I do think a wide receiver comes in and becomes a legitimate No. 3 receiver.

Again, I’m not saying first round. There are just too many needs on defense for me to justify that. But after the first round, I say wide receiver becomes somewhat of a priority.

In the second round – and this is assuming Watkins, Evans and Odell Beckham are all gone, the Cowboys would probably like to see guys like USC’s Marquise Lee still around, but it’s likely they’d have to trade up in the second to get him. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin would be a nice pickup. Anytime you can land a 6-5 player who runs 4.5/4.6-ish like this guy, that’s a big plus for any offense. Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks could be a late-first round guy but might slip into the second.

Third-round options include Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Ole Miss standout Donte Moncrief, Colorado’s Paul Richardson and perhaps LSU’s Jarvis Landry and Josh Huff of Oregon.

You can’t get caught up thinking this is a deep receiver class and “we’ll get one later on.” If that’s the case, then you run the risk of getting a WR no better than Harris or Beasley. But second or third round is where I think this team needs to target a receiver.

Yes, I’ve changed my stance. I blame the NFL for pushing back the draft. If for some reason it gets moved another few weeks, I might be writing for them to trade up for Watkins.

So, let’s just hope the draft sticks to the schedule and begins on Thursday.

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