Despite recent words from Mike McCarthy and the player himself, an ESPN insider is pegging the Dallas Cowboys to release a promising weapon.
Despite considerable speculation surrounding the departures of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr., Dallas hasn’t really lost much in terms of numbers. The arrival of Jalen Tolbert in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft plus James Washington in free agency has basically mitigated the losses from a numbers perspective.
However, matching the production of Wilson and Cooper is another story. One player returning to the Cowboys that could help with that task is Simi Fehoko. Fehoko has had positive feedback coming from staff and the media this week, but ESPN reporter Todd Archer is now predicting Dallas to cut Fehoko ahead of the final 53-man roster.
The six receivers Archer predicts for the final roster are as follows:
- Michael Gallup
- James Washington
- Jalen Tolbert
- Noah Brown
- T.J. Vasher
When Archer addresses the last spot, which he gave to Vasher, he didn’t even mention Fehoko as part of the conversation. Instead, he thinks Vasher is competing with Dennis Houston.
“Vasher had some eye-popping moments in the spring,” Archer wrote. “But the final spot could come down to special teams, which could give undrafted Dennis Houston a chance.”
It’s an interesting prediction to say the least, especially considering recent comments from McCarthy and Fehoko.
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Fehoko Finding Feet in NFL
Fehoko only played two full seasons in college, but made a significant impact as a wide receiver at Stanford. The 6’4″ receiver was able to utilize his size and high-point ability to great effect, but only for two years.
Over that span, Fehoko totaled 1140 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. However, his yards per catch was the truly eye-catching stat, with the now 24-year-old averaging 18.5 yards per catch in college according to Sports Reference.
The Cowboys took a chance on Fehoko in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft, primarily utilizing as a special teams player when he did show up on the field in his five appearances this past season.
However, Fehoko only played 55 snaps and didn’t register a catch. While he is still considered to be a young, talented player, not making any real impact in his rookie year plays into Archer’s roster prediction on ESPN.
Cowboys Speaking Positively on WR
The biggest piece of evidence pointing against Archer’s prediction is OTAs. During the first stretch of optional practices, Fehoko took first-team snaps according to Pro Football Talk.
Further, McCarthy and Fehoko both gave information on why he was getting those snaps.
“Potentially, this year, you gain a little bit more weight and we can use you as more like a hybrid tight end-receiver-type body,” McCarthy reportedly told Fehoko this offseason.
Then, Fehoko himself told media that he expects to have a bigger role this offseason. It’s not clear exactly what that will look like, but the receiver seems optimistic.
“I’ll have a bigger role, I’d say, in the offense and in special teams… I have no problem… Obviously gaining weight and playing at a higher weight isn’t a problem.”
If Fehoko can be a hybrid option, or at least further separate himself from the rest of the WR group, then his chances for the 53-man roster become better and better.