*Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver Cole Beasley.*
Name: Cole Beasley
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 2 seasons
College: Southern Methodist
Key stat:Beasley's 39 catches and 368 yards were both more than double his rookie totals.
Contract Status:Signed through 2014.
2013 Impact:There were two players during the 2013 season that I believed were under-utilized in this offense and Cole Beasley was one of them. He is one of those rare players who needs to be on the field when the chips are on the table.
His height limits where you can play him, but putting him in the slot or creating plays where you can take advantage of him on the move in a short area is a smart option. His hands are dependable and when the ball goes in his direction, there is an outstanding chance that he is going to finish the play.
It was interesting that the club struggled on third down for the first time in four seasons by only converting 35 percent of their tries. I understand what the coaches were trying to do by putting Terrance Williams on the field with Miles Austin to try and take the pressure off Dez Bryant coverage-wise, but Austin was a non-factor while he was in the lineup and Williams as a rookie had his moments of brilliance but struggles as well.
Beasley was targeted 54 times during the season with 39 receptions. There was a run at the beginning of the season where Beasley was 18 of 20 on those catches to targets. What was interesting, was that the club was not able to keep that momentum going and Beasley only caught 21 more balls in the last nine games of the season -- that wasn't nearly enough.
Beasley was asked to step in and return punts while Dwayne Harris was down with his hamstring injury. He only averaged seven yards a return and was even replaced in the Washington game by Michael Spurlock. Beasley did do a nice job of securing the ball, but he didn't show that elusiveness that we had seen before with the ball in his hands.
Where He Fits: There is always a place on the team for a player that has the skill and talent of a Cole Beasley. What these coaches need to figure out is how to use him more in tough situations. [embedded_ad]
I did like how they were not afraid to put him in down in the red zone and try to get the ball to him. The little screen pass that he scored on against the Broncos was well designed and executed. Depending on what happens with Miles Austin and his availability, this would an ideal situation to use Beasley more in those "11" personnel packages and let him work quickly out of the slot. He will never be a taller player but to find creative ways to use him provides some really good options.
David Helman: Statistically speaking, you would say Cole Beasley's impact on the 2013 season wasn't much to get excited about. He averaged a little less than three catches and 30 yards per game – pretty negligible, especially compared to the main targets in the Dallas passing game.
But if you think back, the moments were there. His nifty touchdown catch against Denver, described above, put the Cowboys in front, 48-41, with about seven minutes to play. His 13-yard reception in crunch time against New York allowed the Cowboys to kill the clock and kick a game-winning field goal. With a non-existent running game against Minnesota, he actually outperformed Dez Bryant with a six-catch, 68-yard effort.
Perhaps saving the best for last, Beasley's 20-yard catch on 4th and 6 against Washington allowed the Cowboys to cut the Redskins' lead in an eventual come-from-behind win. Those moments were few and far between, but they offer an exciting glimpse of what Beasley could be capable of as he progresses.