Commentary

Plugging the holes: NFC East

Biggest remaining questions for the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Redskins

Originally Published: August 8, 2011
By Brian McIntyre | Football Outsiders
Dez BryantAP Photo/Darren AbateIs Dez Bryant ready to step up this season for the Dallas Cowboys?

Note: This is the fifth part of an eight-part series, going division by division through the NFL.

One effect of the lockout is that teams don't have as good a feel for their roster as they would in normal years. No one has conducted OTAs, rookies haven't had a chance to study the playbooks or meet with position coaches and because free agency was pushed back until after the lockout, many teams don't know what their rosters will look like, even as they begin training camp. So without further ado, let's look biggest remaining question for all four teams in the NFC East.


Dallas Cowboys: Is there enough depth at wide receiver?

When the Dallas Cowboys used the 24th overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft on Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, they had one of the deepest groups of receivers in the league. Miles Austin was coming off his breakout season, earning Pro Bowl honors for the first time with 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns, ranking fourth in receiving DYAR and fifth in DVOA. Dallas also had the talented, but inconsistent Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton (who ranked 32nd in DYAR and 16th in receiving DVOA in 2009), Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree, a second-year, undrafted free agent from Virginia that the club was high on.

Crayton was shipped to the San Diego Chargers last September, where he posted a DYAR of 172 and DVOA of 41.1 percent before dislocating his wrist and missing the final six games. This offseason, Williams was a salary-cap casualty and both he and Hurd have signed free agent contracts with the Chicago Bears. That leaves Austin, Bryant and a group of receivers that has combined to appear in 36 NFL games with just 11 receptions for 136 yards.