Cowboys Could Land Dynamic Young Receiver: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could find their next receiver in USC's Jordan Addison.

The Dallas Cowboys could be in the perfect spot to land their next star receiver.

According to a 2023 NFL Mock Draft from CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards, the Cowboys are projected to select USC wide receiver Jordan Addison with the 19th overall pick. Edwards argues that rookie Jalen Tolbert’s slow development could lead Dallas to seeking a starting receiver opposite of CeeDee Lamb in next year’s draft.

“Dallas needs another pass catcher to support CeeDee Lamb,” says Edwards. “The return of Michael Gallup could cure some of the team’s issues, and rookie Jalen Tolbert could develop, making this selection unnecessary. However, Tolbert may not develop as quickly as the organization needs, and Jerry Jones is not shy about adding firepower.”

Cowboys Lacking Options Outside of Top Two Receivers

Tolbert was inactive for the first two games of the season before finally making his debut during the Cowboys’ Week 3 victory over the New York Giants. However, the third-round draft selection failed to make an impact, posting just one reception for four yards while playing in just 23 offensive snaps during the game.

Meanwhile, Michael Gallup continues to deal with the recovery of his ACL injury from last season and yet to make his season debut. While Gallup is a bonafide No. 2 option — he posted over 1,000 receiving yards during the 2019 season — Dallas is still seeking that No. 3 receiving option behind Lamb and Gallup.

Why Addison Could Fill No. 3 Receiver Role

The 20-year-old Addison is an athletic wide receiver who possesses top speed. As noted by Pro Football Network’s James Fragoza, Addison has “legitimate” 4.4 40-yard-dash speed. In addition to his top-level speed, he’ll be just 21 years of age at the time of the draft next year.

“A big plus for NFL franchises scouting Addison is he will be a 21-year-old rookie — a breath of fresh air coming off a class with a surplus of 23-to-24-year-olds,” says Fragoza. “Moreover, Addison can win downfield, possessing legitimate 4.4 speed. His acceleration out of breaks is impressive, he gets a step on DBs in an instant, and he displays little wasted movement off the line.”

The 6-foot, 175-pound Addison fits the mold of an ideal slot receiver. He was a Consensus First-Team All-American last season after posting 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns. As Fragoza notes, Addison does pretty all of his damage in between the numbers. His lack of size and production on the outside likely means Addison will have to fill a niche role primarily in the slot.

“Size will undoubtedly be a limiting factor for Addison,” predicts Fragoza. “He gives effort in the run game but won’t move the needle much there. Working to stay low and punch inside the chest will mitigate his lack of stature, but that’s not his game anyway. Pitt used him primarily from the slot (73% career snap rate) due to his size, effectively giving him free releases.

Thus, Addison has done most of his damage between the numbers in his two collegiate seasons (73% of yardage). That’s not to say he can’t win outside, but we just haven’t seen it enough at the college level, and it will be a concern for NFL GMs.”

The Cowboys have a long season ahead of them. Receivers such as Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko, KaVontae Turpin or even Tolbert could very well emerge before the end of the year. However, if Dallas fails to find that legitimate No. 3 option, they could find one in Addison in next year’s draft.

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