(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.)
2015 with Cowboys:Coming off a first-team All-Pro selection in 2014, Bryant never found a rhythm in his sixth NFL season. He missed five straight games after the season opener due to surgery on a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, and although he returned to play in eight straight games, foot and ankle injuries bothered him for weeks. The Cowboys placed Bryant on injured reserve Dec. 30 for the final two games against Buffalo and Washington. He finished the season with nine starts, 31 catches for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns – all the lowest totals of his six-year career – and had foot and ankle surgery in early January.
What's the Deal:Bryant graduated to individual drill work during offseason OTAs and minicamp as he moves toward full practice participation this summer. Just as important, he has been around his coaches and teammates through offseason program after missing the voluntary workouts last year during contract negotiations. A healthy Bryant, and Tony Romo, will be critical for a depleted Cowboys offense that did not score a touchdown in four games last year. Bryant and Romo only played in three games together.
Expect This:It'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle Bryant's workload early in training camp. He has been pointing toward Oxnard throughout his rehab work with the athletic training staff in the offseason, but the primary goal will be rounding into form by the Sept. 11 season opener against the Giants. A hamstring injury limited Bryant for a good portion of camp and preseason last year. When healthy, his presence as a home-run receiving option creates favorable matchups for the skill players around him, including fellow wideouts Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Endured a rough 2015 season with the foot injury. Tried to play through the pain but just wasn't the same player.
- When healthy, is a big receiver that gets open. Tough versus single coverage. Will reach and extend to pluck the ball. Has the strength to go up and come down with the pass.
- Quick in and out of breaks. Has improved in this area since his rookie season.
- Has long arms and rare hand size to provide a big target. Has suction-cup hands to make the difficult catch. Can catch the low hard pass, over the shoulder, and ball behind or any other off target throw.
- Plays fast with the speed to go deep. Can adjust to the ball in flight.
- Has an explosive up-field burst after catch. Productive with the ball in his hands. Explosive playmaker. Quick to close the cushion. Forces separation with the defensive back. Has good vision and focus as a vertical threat. Gets to top speed quickly.
- Competitive in close quarters. Shows aggressiveness. Will cradle the ball as needed on crossers and dig routes.
- Wasn't a good blocker while in college but has improved with his technique and effort.
- There is much more consistency to his game without the up and downs, which in my eyes shows a more mature player. One of the top 10 players in this league regardless of position. Rare player.
- Will see more creative ways of getting him the football in the coming year. Now has shown the ability to work out of the slot and move around in order to get away from coverage. A nightmare for defensive coordinators to have to handle now because of his overall development as a complete NFL receiver. Can't expect him to just be taken away with double coverage.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.