Watching the steady and crafty Patrick Crayton catch passes for the Chargers, its not hard to imagine how good a fit he would be in the Cowboys offense, complementing game-breaking receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin on the outside.
Kevin Ogletree is being targeted for that role after the Cowboys cut Roy Williams in the offseason. He got a trial by fire practicing against the Chargers on Thursday.
Austin was held for precautionary reasons to rest his tight hamstring. He might even miss Sunday’s preseason game against the Chargers if he can’t practice Friday.
So Ogletree got a chance to work with the starters opposite Bryant.
“It’s an opportunity for me every day just to prove my worth being here and my role on this team,” Ogletree said. “I think I’m getting there. It’s a process. I’m getting better. That’s what counts.”
Ironically, one of the reasons the Cowboys finally cut Crayton last year is because they thought Ogletree was ready for a larger role. But Ogletree played only six games, catching just three passes for 34 yards before being put on injured reserve with a dislocated big toe.
He is healthy and has shown improvement in camp this year. But he is also being pushed by rookie receiver Dwayne Harris for the third spot.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he needs to be more consistent.
“There are a lot of good things that he’s done,” Garrett said. “He shows really on a daily basis that he’s a guy who can win as a route runner in this league both as an outside receiver and inside receiver. Kevin, like a lot of our younger players, shows you flashes and needs to do it on a more consistent basis. I think he’s done that more and more over the last three years and he just needs to keep doing it.”
If Ogletree doesn’t do it, the Cowboys, who have more than $6 million in salary-cap room, will likely search for a proven receiver on the waiver wire after final cuts.
-- Clarence E. Hill Jr.