(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 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver Cole Beasley.)
Name: Cole Beasley
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5-8 / 180
Experience: 4 seasons
Key stat:Thanks to a two-touchdown game in the season finale against Washington, Beasley finished with a team-high five touchdown catches in 2015.
Contract Status:Signed through 2018.
2015 Impact: Had five games where he averaged over 12 yards a reception. Felt like that if Tony Romo would have not been lost for the majority of the season that his numbers would have been better. Received more opportunities while Brandon Weeden was at quarterback than Matt Cassel. Was surprised that Cassel wasn't able to use him more especially in those critical 3rd down situations where the offense needed to convert. One of the most reliable receivers on the squad in terms catches to targets. Was used on the outside more as a receiver than in previous seasons but was not as effective as when he plays in the slot. It was as if he got lost on the outside. If there was an area in which Beasley was able to improve, it was down in the red zone. You would think that due to his lack of height and with the field shrinking that he would struggle to find space but that wasn't the case. Scott Linehan did a nice job of playing to Beasley's strengths by creating those opportunities with quick passes on the move and allowing him to finish.
Where He Fits: Will continue to be that player that this offense can rely on to make critical plays when necessary. One of the best mismatch players in the league when given the opportunity. Has built a trust with Tony Romo over the years and it is evident that when he is in the game that Romo is going to work to find him. Is becoming a much better player in the red zone and on the outside. Has developed into a legitimate weapon – not just a one trick pony as a receiver. Can now attack defenses on different levels. Was used as a fill in punt returner due to his ability to securely catch the ball although he had the one misplay against the New York Giants. Could see the coaching going in another direction with him this season in that regard not because of that muff but the potential development of Lucky Whitehead. Is one of those players that receptions to targets are always going to be high.
Nick Eatman: For some reason, it didn't feel like Cole Beasley had his best season of his career, but statistically, he did, with 52 catches for 536 yards and five touchdowns – all personal highs for the receiver. Obviously, a part of his increased production stemmed from Dez Bryant's injuries, which kept him out of seven games. Personally, I think Beasley had found his niche with Romo and once he went down, it wasn't easy for any of the backups to step in and utilize him properly. At times, they did, but he was primed for a great season with Romo. But that's not a good thing. Good players need to be good regardless of the players around him, so in 2015, Beasley has to be dependable target for this offense, not just the quarterback.