The maturation of Dez Bryant in the second half of the 2012 season gives the Dallas Cowboys and their fans belief that the physical specimen is on the fast track to becoming a superstar in 2013.
To start 2012, many questioned Bryant’s maturity and character. Although talented, many always wondered if he was really worth the trouble.
Bryant then exploded for 10 touchdowns and 879 yards receiving in the second half of 2012. I don’t think anybody will be doubting Bryant this season.
The receiver has had a relatively quiet offseason this summer, and for him and the Cowboys alike, that’s a good sign.
Bryant is now only making news for his dominance in OTA’s and his hard work ethic. The receiver has worked hard to develop emotionally as well as mentally to tap his potential and reach that top tier of receivers.
Bryant believes that he can be the NFL’s first 2,000 yard receiver, and with his ability, why question him?
He just might shatter the records of another No. 88 that played for the Cowboys, Michael Irvin.
The Cowboys are expecting Bryant to be that athletic freak consistently in 2013. They are hoping for several big plays downfield and a limited amount of mental mistakes. The Dez Bryant Pro Bowl 2013 Campaign starts now.
Also, the ‘Boys are hopeful that Miles Austin starts playing at the level of his contract, which makes him one of the higher-paid receivers in the league.
Austin has battled the injury bug the past two seasons and the team is hopeful he can just stay healthy. Although he played in all 16 games last season, Austin was limited by hamstring issues and left a few games early because of these issues. Even battling through injuries, the guy still had 66 receptions for 943 yards and six touchdowns. That’s impressive for someone hampered with bad hamstrings all season.
If his hamstrings aren’t an issue, Austin is one of the better No. 2 receivers in the league. With the addition of draft pick Terrance Williams, the Cowboys are hopeful they can place Austin back in the slot in three-wide receiver sets. Austin experienced must of his success here during his 1,000 yard campaign in 2009.
Williams, a third-round draft pick from Baylor, will challenge Dwayne Harris for the No. 3 role. Harris obviously has the advantage in terms of experience, but the rookie has a bigger frame at 6-foot-2, better ball skills, and a higher ceiling.
If Williams wins the job, the Cowboys can return Austin to the slot in three-wide sets(which I mentioned above), which is their strong preference.
Harris, who had 17 catches last season, shouldn’t be an afterthought for the Cowboys this season. He led the NFC with 16.1 yards per punt return and could have to step up big for the ‘Boys if Austin’s hamstrings become an issue again. Harris, in my opinion, will begin 2013 season as the No. 4 receiver. He will also still continue to return punts.
For the 5th and final receiver spot, the competition will be wide open. The Cowboys have an undersized Cole Beasley, a 2012 draft pick coming off a torn ACL in Danny Coale, and journeyman Anthony Armstrong. This might be one of the camp battles to watch in Oxnard.
I believe that Beasley wins the 5th spot here, as he has had more reps to build up some chemistry with Tony Romo. Don’t sleep on Coale though. The guy has the ability to win this spot, but he just can’t seem to stay healthy.
Overall, the Cowboys are set at the wide receiver position for 2013 and years to come.
Bryant is a superstar in the making.
Austin is as quality as they come as a No. 2.
Williams has a high ceiling as a rookie as the No. 3. His big body will allow him to play outside with Austin inside.
Harris is a dual threat as a kick returner, and is capable of making plays as the No. 4.
And who ever claims that No. 5 role can be a weapon for Romo in 2013.