When the Cowboys selected Williams with the 74th (3rd Round) pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the hope was he’d develop into a downfield threat that would cause defenses to honor him and free up Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and open run running lanes for their receivers. After a slow rookie season Williams exploded in year two with 6 touchdowns in the first 7 weeks of the season. While his production cooled from there only registering two more scores over the rest of the season.
While Williams hasn’t turned out to be an elite #2 receiver he’s played the downfield role quite well averaging 15.8 yards per catch and 20 touchdowns over his four year career. When Dez Bryant was out with injuries Williams was given the chance to shine as the top receiver and was not able to seize the opportunity.
ESPN Dallas is reporting that Williams is unlikely to resign with the Cowboys citing a lack of targets and the possibility of another team overpaying the receiver. The Cowboys could resign back up Brice Butler but that would be a downgrade as Butler finished the season ranked as the 92nd best receiver according to Pro Football Focus. For the Cowboys offense to be successful they need that deep threat and could turn to the NFL Draft to fill the role. Here are 5 players they could target.
John Ross, 5’11 190, Washington
After two unassuming years and a knee injury, Ross exploded this season 1,150 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. Ross routinely made plays despite having to adjust to under thrown passes. Not only does Ross have elite speed but he has that extra gear to pull away from cornerbacks and can go up and get the ball like Brandin Cooks did at Oregon State. Ross is also talented in the open field with quick cuts and lateral agility to make defenders miss. Ross could also double as a punt returner.
Where to get him: 1st Round
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) February 4, 2017
KD Cannon, 6’0 180, Baylor
Why not return to the same school that produced Williams and get what I feel is an upgrade. Cannon is an explosive athlete who lead the Bears with 1,215 yards 13 touchdowns on the season. His ability to not only run past defensive backs but go up and get the ball at the catch point makes him dangerous.
Where to get him: 2nd Round
ArDarius Stewart, 6’1 204, Alabama
In his second year as a starter Stewart emerged as a viable downfield threat for freshman QB Jalen Hurts averaging 16 yards per catch along with 8 touchdowns. Stewart is much more than a downfield threat and had success on end arounds and even quick passes utilization his quick burst and speed.
Where to get him: 3rd -4th Round
— NFL Draft Geek (@NFLDraftGeek) February 4, 2017
DeDe Westbrook, 6’0 170 Oklahoma
Westbrook had such a dominant 2016 season that he earned a 4th place finish in Heisman Trophy race. Westbrook knows a thing about providing a deep threat to a run based offense as he forced defenses to not load up the box to stop the Sooners rushing attack and regularly shredded defenses to the tune of 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. Westbrook is a true deep threat but he’s excellent at it finding open spaces and tracking the ball well.
Where to get him: 3rd -4th Round
Speedy Noil, 5’11 200, Texas A&M
Coming to College Station Noil as a top 25 overall recruit and a big get for Kevin Sumlin. After a decent freshman year with 583 yards and 5 touchdowns he seemed poised to live up to the hype. However in this two years after he never got over 400 yards and had only four combined touchdowns. His nickname isn’t a lie and he is fast, but he also carries some off the field baggage. But Noil could be worth take a chance on Day 3.
Where to get him: 5th Round