FRISCO — For the first time in over five years, the Cowboys receiving corps looks drastically different entering a season.
The sight had become so familiar — Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and in recent years Brice Butler — working through receiving drills on the practice fields.
During organized team activities Wednesday, the first of the offseason practices open to the media, the group required heavy use of a roster to aid recognition, aside from Beasley and second-year player Noah Brown.
No. 13 Michael Gallup, the third-round draft pick.
No. 15 Deonte Thompson, a free agent addition.
No. 16 Cedrick Wilson, a sixth-round draft pick.
No. 17 Allen Hurns, the Cowboys’ veteran pickup in free agency who could be Dallas’ top receiver.
No. 10 Tavon Austin, acquired via trade with the Los Angeles Rams, who is prized for his versatility. He was listed as a running back, but took part in receiving drills.
Missing was No. 83 Terrance Williams, the sixth-year player who was arrested over the weekend on a public intoxication charge and is recovering from foot surgery earlier this year. Bryant, of course, was released this spring after eight memorable seasons and Dallas didn’t try to re-sign Butler in free agency. Gone too, is 15-year tight end Jason Witten, always an option as a pass catcher.
The new-look receiving corps has left some wondering who will emerge as third-year quarterback Dak Prescott’s most consistent producers, and if the Cowboys have loaded up enough at the position. Matthew Berry, the head fantasy football analyst at ESPN, recently tweeted that Dallas’ receivers were the worst in the league.
The assessments haven’t been lost on the new guys.
“Of course I feel I can be the No. 1 receiver, I feel I can play any of the three positions,” said Hurns, who the Cowboys signed during free agency after he was released by Jacksonville. “I can run any routes. …One thing I know, our room, we have a lot of guys who have a lot to prove. I like being in a room like that.
“You got Bease, not coming off his best year. T-Will, same thing. Tavon was hurt a lot of last year. Noah, going into his second year. Deonte Thompson, a lot of young guys. We all got something to prove. Each and every day we’re going to go out there and push each other.”
And the criticism?
“It’s all talk,” Hurns said. “I know for me the last two years I didn’t have my best years [missing 11 games to injury], that’s all the motivation I need.”
Thompson, who has moved around in his six previous seasons and played last season for Chicago and Buffalo, said he’s embracing the situation.
“I’m excited to be in a group of guys who are hungry and want to prove the world wrong,” Thompson said. “I don’t really have too much social media stuff, so I barely hear it, but we know what they say. But we’ll be having this discussion in November, and it will be totally different.”
This Topic is Missing Your Voice.