We saw Dak go down in 2022, and the team held up.
Cooper Rush stepped in, made a name for himself, and led the team to 4 victories over 5 games.
Rush was the next man up, and that’s great work by a backup quarterback. It would earn many at least a chance at a starting job.
But we’re not talking about Cooper Rush here; we’re talking about Cee Dee Lamb.
I’m not trying to jinx anyone here, but let’s say Cee Dee Lamb were to go down.
Could the Cowboys survive?
There aren’t many things more true for the Cowboys during the 2023 season: the Cowboys need help at WR if they’re going to compete with the big dogs going in to 2023. Some will inevitably bring up Amari Cooper, and that’s fine. But it’s also spilled milk.
The question now is more about what they can do now. And the answer should be to build it up with enough talent that it could not only survive without Lamb, but possibly thrive without Lamb.
Of course, there’s Jalen Tolbert. And only the Cowboys know what they’ve got there.
But let’s be honest. If they thought Jalen Tolbert could be the answer, he likely would have seen the field at least a little bit more in 2022. And the stars just never aligned for Tolbert. I still like the possibility of Tolbert improving. And the same goes for Fehoko. But I just never saw enough from those guy to give me confidence. Although I did notice Fehoko getting open during games, and I just never saw that from Tolbert, unless I’m missing something, outside of preseason.
Also, when the press and fans were raving about Dennis Houston not only making the team, but cracking the starting lineup, that should have lit a fire under Tolbert to go take the job from Houston, who could also use the rookie excuse being that he was an UDFA trying to fight his way on the team.
That should have been the spark that catalyzed things for Tolbert.
It just never was.
And Fehoko has pretty much always been sort of the Miles Austin project.
So, how do you build your WR room for 2023?
I’d argue you account for at least three guys being in it. Cee Dee Lamb, and Noah Brown both played better than many thought they would, and I’d say Brown at least earned a shot to come back to camp next year to compete. Then there was Gallup who, I think, improves a lot next year.
Many have expressed they would rather see the Cowboys bring in new players rather than see Brown return. But how much can you rebuild in an off-season? It’s good to have continuity and veteran guys with your team. And for the right price, I’d say Noah Brown should be part of this team next year, at the very least as a ST guy and #4 or 5 in your WR room.
But that leaves 3-4 roster spots open. Even if the team only keeps 5 WRs (not counting Turpin), that’s two roster spots wide open at the receiver position.
Not only that. While we kind of know what we have with Cee Dee, Gallup, and Brown.
How much do we really know about Tolbert and Fehoko?
The other guy who was supposed to be in the mix last year, James Washington, got injured in camp. And once he worked his way back from injury, he never really contributed anything before he was ultimately cut, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of coming back this year.
So the Cowboys have some work to do. Even if they only figure adding one WR through the draft, they need to be as sure as sure can be on the player they choose. I actually expect the chances are high that they’ll take a wide receiver in round 1. There’s not many players you’re going to get outside of the first 40 picks who’ll give your team a chance to make a playoff run if, Heaven forbid, something like an injury to Lamb were to happen. I would even argue you can justify taking two WRs in this draft.
But I’d be sure to get one you really like in round 1.
Not only that, the free agent market on wide receivers looks pretty thin, although it’s not completely void of talent, so there’s that.
Whatever they do, the talent they add should be a level of talent that can fit in with the guys we have now Lamb, Brown, Gallup, and Tolbert, and that talent should be someone with the ability to help us win games as a number 1 level of talent.
Adding top-notch wide receiver talent would be the most effective route to improving the team as much as possible to compete with the Eagles and 9ers next year.