Dez Bryant, the 24th overall draft pick, certainly adds speed to an already explosive Cowboys offense, but he also further crowds the receiving corps.
The Cowboys’ receiver depth chart now looks something like this (in no particular order): Bryant, Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd. And don’t forget about TEs Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addressed that issue Saturday on NFL Total Access, suggesting that each receiver will have the opportunity to contribute.
“We think this gives us a lot of options, strengthened our receiving corps,” Jones said. “And we all know with Jason Witten, with what we want to do out of the backfield with our passing game, there’s not enough balls really if that happens. As you know, defenses are different from game to game. Sometimes it’s going to be one’s turn, sometimes it’s going to be the other. I like this problem.”
Jones also said drafting Bryant doesn’t change the team’s plan to sign Austin to a long-term deal. The four-year pro had a breakout 2009 season, making his first Pro Bowl after setting career highs in receptions (81), yards (1,320) and touchdowns (11).
“There’s no question about Miles Austin getting a long-term contract, from our perspective,” Jones said. “It’s a question of when and how and how much, of course, which is the whole show. But, yes, Miles Austin is big in our plans. Dez Bryant’s drafting has nothing to do with what we think we want to do long-term with (Austin). It has nothing to do with what we want to do with Roy Williams either. We want Roy Williams to become a factor here.”
It’s interesting that Jones snuck in Williams, who has just 57 receptions and eight touchdowns in 25 games with the Cowboys. There has been speculation that Bryant’s arrival could mean the end of the road for Crayton, but perhaps it’s Williams — who cost the Cowboys four draft picks in a 2008 trade with the Lions — who will be pushed.
Lastly, Jones reiterated that the Cowboys never had any discussions about trading RB Marion Barber.
“We’ve never one time discussed it with anyone,” Jones said. “I don’t know if we’ve done it internally, which is normal course of business at every position. There’s never been any consideration to trading Marion.”