On Friday, Josh Ellis had a post for DallasCowboys.com on the third wide receiver position and - should he become available - whether or not veteran Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers would make sense for the Cowboys given their need to find a replacement for Laurent Robinson.
The story got me thinking, what is Driver at this point in his career? So I sat down and studied him against the Falcons, Giants and Chiefs, and this is what I came up with.
Driver will play both inside and out. He still shows some quickness off the snap, knows how to find space in the zone, is willing to take his route inside to catch the ball and runs his routes with sharpness. He plays quick in and out of his breaks, is able to snatch the ball but did not adjust quickly enough on a slant route against the Falcons, and the ball was on top of him right away. Driver didn't adjust his hands quickly enough and it was a drop. It was a catch I have seen him make a hundred times.
He still plays with outstanding sideline awareness, knows how to adjust his body to keep his feet in bounds and can get full extension to adjust to the wide ball. He did this twice in the Giants game and one of those catches resulted in a touchdown. With 3:59 left in the game, Driver lined up in the inside slot on the right side of the formation. At the snap he ran up, then broke for the back corner of the end zone. Aaron Rodgers had all day to scan the field, and spotted Driver as he worked back down to the front pylon with cornerback Corey Webster in good coverage. Rodgers threw the ball to the outside, away from Driver and Webster, and Driver was able to adjust to keep his feet in bounds, securing the ball for the touchdown.
Against the Chiefs, he really did a nice job of adjusting to some bad passes that Rodgers was forced to throw in the game. He can still get some separation and was able to do so against Brandon Carr, but the ball was too high. He had a nice touchdown catch out of the slot when he was able to beat cornerback Jalil Brown, running a corner route against Brown and beating his press coverage off the line.
Where could Donald Driver fit for the Cowboys? Everyone wants to look at his age, 37, and think they are seeing a declining player, but I don't see that at all.
The Packers are a team that is deep at receiver and they are searching for ways to get Randall Cobb on the field more. Where Driver could help the Cowboys is in bridging the gap and aiding in the develpment of Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway and Danny Coale. You say, if he is playing, how do those guys get on the field?
Where Driver helps is in his ability to make consistent plays on third downs whether on the outside or in the slot. He can be that go-to-guy in the red zone that Romo had last season with Robinson.
Driver know how to get open and he knows how to position himself to make plays. For one season, he could take the pressure off these young, unproven players, allowing them to grow and learn. The only problem with Driver in Green Bay is that he makes too much money. The level of play is still quality.
If the Packers do make a move there, I would strongly consider bringing Driver in for one season to help.