Cole Beasley knows he is at his best in the slot, but the smallest receiver on the Cowboys’ roster says he can play on the outside if he’s given a chance to learn the position.
“I played outside maybe 10 plays my senior year in college. That’s probably the most I got before getting here,” he said. “Most of it’s just kind of learning what you can do and what you can’t do, and I have a good feel for all that stuff in the slot. Obviously, I’m going to be more successful in the slot right now because I’ve done it for four years. Once I start getting more reps at outside receiver, I’ll start learning what I can do and what I can’t, and I’ll go up from there, too.”
The Cowboys are giving Beasley that chance to learn the outside spots.
He has lined up outside during the OTAs and mini-camp, flopping positions with Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams.
“I feel like I proved to them I could play my rookie year, and I did the same last year,” said the 5-foot-8 Beasley, who made the team as an undrafted free agent out of SMU in 2012. “Just got to take advantage of the opportunities and get more and take advantage of those opportunities and only go up from there. The team will only get better if I can continue to do as well as I’ve been doing on third downs, so I’ve just got to be that guy and do whatever they need me to do.”
Coach Jason Garrett said Beasley’s job on the outside is made more difficult because of his height.
“Typically when you’re a smaller receiver, you have to win by more,” Garrett said. “And so how do you do that as an outside receiver? You outrun guys -- I’m thinking about a deep ball down the field. You can beat a guy by a yard or two when you’re a smaller guy and he still kind of has you covered because he’s a bigger guy and as the ball is coming in, he has an equal chance to make a play on that ball. Bigger guys outside don’t have to win by as much because they can fight for that ball when it’s up in the air. That’s how his size hurts him.
“What helps him out there is his quickness, his change of direction. He’s a very good route runner, and he’s able to kind of create the space that he needs as an outside receiver a lot like he’s able to do inside. His change of direction is really pretty unique, and he has a real good feel. He’s very quarterback-friendly when he runs his routes. We’re trying to give him opportunities in a lot of different spots. He’s most natural playing inside, but he’s certainly not a non-factor as an outside receiver.”
Receivers coach Derek Dooley said last week the team was working on expanding Beasley’s route options. Beasley said that also means more slot routes.
“I was a slot guy last year, but even just being a slot guy, you can still have more routes,” he said. “To me, it’s all about opportunities. I didn’t have that much opportunity to run that many different routes. They’re doing a good job of kind of giving me more stuff, just to see what I can do, what I can’t handle, what I can handle. I just got to prove to them that I can do that stuff, and I believe I can. It’s just a matter of showing them.”
-- Carlos Mendez