FRISCO, Texas – The wide receiver room in Dallas looks a little different this offseason.
While familiar faces like Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson have since made their departures from the Cowboys and injuries to free-agent signee James Washington, third-round pick Jalen Tolbert, and Michael Gallup, the door is now squarely open for other guys to make their case.
Enter Simi Fehoko.
A fifth-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2021, Fehoko found himself lining up opposite of CeeDee Lamb and alongside Dak Prescott and the rest of the first-time offense during OTAs this past week.
So, how exactly does Fehoko fit with the Cowboys? With Lamb set the take over as the No.1 receiver and Gallup on the mend from ACL surgery, Fehoko projects to be one of the biggest wide receivers at 6-3, 220 pounds.
"Being the bigger, taller and I guess heavier receiver to be able to have that blend of speed I feel like adding that with learning from the route runner from [Noah Brown] or CeeDee, I feel like it's only just going to get better," Fehoko said. "I feel like that is something I bring to the table."
Learning has been a common theme for Fehoko as enters Year 2 in Dallas.
And while Fehoko did not record a catch during his rookie campaign last season, he says that just being in town over the offseason helped him settle in after a whirlwind of a first season in the NFL.
"I ended up staying here and I was able to work with Dak a little bit through the offseason," Fehoko said. "It's been smooth for me just being able to deal with them and be here the whole offseason."
But for any younger player looking to improve his stock in the locker room, Fehoko looked to find ways off the field to ingratiate himself with the likes of the Cowboys biggest stars and strongest leaders. Inevitable, that quickly became as big of a focus as his work on the field.
"Staying here in the offseason and building that trust with Dak and hanging out with some of the guys going golfing with them [was huge]," Fehoko said. So, it's just some of those things that I've been just doing in the offseason been I felt like it helped my game."
Though it the work did not just start this offseason.
With a wide receiver room that was jam-packed with former Pro-Bowlers, first-round picks, and 1,000-yard seasons, Fehoko admitted how valuable it was for him to learn from those players. For any rookie that type of talent could seem intimidating to walk into, let alone a fifth-round pick beginning his career with an organization with the pedigree and history of the Cowboys.
Instead, Fehoko did what any smart rookie would do. He became a sponge to soak up the vast amount of knowledge around him to use to his advantage.
"I think last year was an interesting one for me," Fehoko said. "Just being in there and getting my feet wet, I felt like with the receiver room we had some dudes. So, taking all that from [Cooper], from [Wilson], from [Gallup], all these guys. I just started trying to apply it and just get better every day."
Sure, it might have been the first week of OTAs. But it's any indication on if Fehoko's work off the field during the offseason has paid off, taking first-team reps is a positive sign he's done something right.