called himself a possession receiver. Sam Hurd and Patrick Crayton are more possession-type guys also. And let me say, those guys are much-needed as well.
I've heard enough cornerbacks say that great route-runners are just as tough, maybe even more difficult to stop than a one-dimensional speed threat.
Still, the Cowboys are lacking speed. And maybe it's not speed they need as much as quickness. Owens, Williams, Austin, they can all get by people especially if no one is in their way.
But the Cowboys seem to be lacking that jitterbug-type guy who can start and stop, then start again, cut this way and that way and then turn it up the field for about 60 yards and a touchdown. The only player on this team that somewhat resembles having that type of ability is Felix Jones. He was the team's home-run hitter for six games before his hamstring and then toe injury ended his season rather abruptly.
This year, the Cowboys are counting on Felix once again, but they need a more vertical presence, too.
If you've heard our radio shows the last year, then you know my stance on this. But I've said it for a while now, the Cowboys never truly made the defenses pay for the way they cover T.O.
OK, so they double him all over the field - jam him at the line with safety help over the top. That's fine. But that means other players are getting single coverage. That's where the Cowboys couldn't exploit teams.
If you're going to put that much pressure on Owens, then someone needs to be running deep. Not every play, of course. But just that presence on the field can be valuable.
Now when it comes to this year's draft, obviously the Cowboys aren't going to get some 6-3, 225-pound receiver with 4.3 speed that catches everything in sight and runs the best routes. That's Andre Johnson from a few years back and he went No. 3 overall to Houston. Larry Fitzgerald also went No. 3 and had just about all the tools as well.
The guys I'm talking about will be missing something. Not sure exactly, but just something.
To get a blazer in the middle rounds, he'll probably not be the biggest guy in the world. He may have inconsistent hands. He may be small with bad hands. Maybe his attitude isn't the greatest, maybe he's just a raw player who hasn't played a lot of football.
Whatever the case may be, it'll probably be a project that needs tooling.
But just make sure he can run!
With that in mind, let's throw out just a few names. Again, it's early with the combine still to take place this weekend, not to mention the Pro Day on the college campuses. There will be plenty of guys who will run their way into the mix.
But for now, how about some guys like Penn State's Derrick Williams or Florida's Louis Murphy. They both can run like the wind and Williams is a shifty, cat-quick player who has been at several positions on the field, but is being projected at receiver. Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey is considered one of the fastest receivers in the draft, but it appears he has enough of the other tools to put him in the first round.
If Heyward-Bey isn't the fastest, it might be Ole Miss' Mike Wallace, who said during last week's media day at Michael Johnson's Performance Center in McKinney that he is hoping to run a 4.2. The trainers up there at the center have their fingers crossed that Wallace will run the fastest 40 at the combine.
Now that's the kind of guy the Cowboys need. Wallace is just 5-11, 195, but he can fly. If you look at his numbers, he caught just 101 passes for 1,910 yards and 15 touchdowns - in three seasons at Ole Miss. However, what sticks out is that 18.9 yard-per-catch career average. He's obviously getting down the field.
Other names to watch include USC's Patrick Turner and North Carolina's Brandon Tate. That's two more guys who weren't even the most heralded receivers on their college teams, but can certainly stretch a defense.
Again, it's still early. There will be more names to surface because of ungodly 40 times.
But those are the guys that Cowboys need to be looking at.