OXNARD, Calif. – For as much as he's been talked about, he's hardly had a chance to play.
Even at this early point of training camp, that's starting to change for Cedrick Wilson.
The guy who spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve is back, he's participating – and from the looks of it, he's excelling.
"It feels good, actually to start playing football again and putting the pads on again and learning the game of football more than I felt like I knew it," he said.
It's been a long year for the Boise State product, who the Cowboys drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Wilson injured his shoulder just two days into last year's training camp, sidelining him for the entirety of the season.
"It was definitely frustrating when it happened, because the sport of football and the league, you don't know what you're going to do once you get hurt," Wilson said. "But I think I did what I needed to do in those two days for Coach and them to keep me around and give me the opportunity this year to showcase my talent that I had."
That talent has been a talking point for the entirety of this offseason. Wilson caught a whopping 83 balls for 1,511 yards and nine touchdowns during his final season at Boise State. Given the uncertainty on the back end of the receiver depth chart, there's understandable optimism that Wilson can bring some juice to the position.
Through eight practices, the optimism looks well-founded. Wilson has done a little bit of everything in Oxnard, lining up inside and outside, running the ball out of the backfield, taking part in special teams and everything in between.
"Any opportunity, I love it," he said. "Any chance they call me to get in there, I'm going to get in there and run the play to the best of my ability. And then when I get done doing it, I'm going to ask what I should have done better."
A big part of that has been learning to play slot receiver. Wilson was mainly an outside threat in college, but the the Cowboys' coaching staff has asked him to try his hand inside.
"Ultimately as a slot receiver, you want to be someone the quarterback wants to go to, he trusts," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "He can win in critical moments to keep drives alive. You have to be smart. You have to be savvy."
Without wanting to exaggerate, there seems to be some sort of trust already. Wilson has had plenty of opportunities to run with the Cowboys' starters, making plays on both the inside and outside.
Factor in his contributions on special teams, and it's clear the Cowboys aren't afraid to put a workload on him.
"Right now, I'm L1 on kickoff, the R2 on punt return, returner on kickoff return, I'm getting some flyer work on punt and also some punt return work – so all over," he said.
Promising though it might be, it doesn't mean a whole lot. The Cowboys haven't even played a preseason game yet, let alone cut the roster down.
But for a guy who had to watch last season from the sidelines, Wilson is simply happy to be back in the thick of it
"Whenever they need me -- whether it's the fourth receiver, the sixth receiver – just trying to make that group of guys and put my all in on special teams," he said. "That's usually what the non-starting three guys have to do to be a big part of that."