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05/29/2013

The Cowboys WR not to forget

Dwayne_Harris_Dallas_Cowboys_v_Philadelphia_f8waI6lCluVlIRVING, Texas - Dez Bryant is No. 1, Miles Austin is on notice as the No. 2, while rookie Terrence Williams is No. 3.

Where is the love for Dwayne Harris ? (If you want to follow him on Twitter, he's @D_Harris17)

Harris is 25, and entering his third year where he has become a quite the football player on the football field in the National Football League. He was a sixth round pick out of East Carolina three years ago, and has signs of maturing into a good No. 3/slot receiver. At least more than Kevin Ogletree, whom the Cowboys did not bring back.

The third year is usually the time if a guy is going to "get it" he "gets it", and the safe play is to think Mr. Harris is there. But we won't know if he is all the way there if the Cowboys quit asking him to return punts.

Harris made a name for himself last season as a punt returner. It put him on the field, he returned one punt for a touchdown, and put the Cowboys in favorable field position countless times with solid returns.

Ask any WR/punt returner and they'll tell you they want to do both because it means more playing time. But any player in that position will gladly give up punt returning duties because it means the team values them more as a receiver than as a returner.

"That's a question for Dez," Harris told me on Tuesday. "It's the same for (Bryant)."

The Cowboys used their prized No. 1 receiver as a returner for a while until it was decided not to risk any injury. It didn't help that Dez was a bit of a wildcard when he did it.

The trick for Harris is to catch everything when the ball is thrown his way, and make plays when either Austin or Dez go down. At the least he needs to stay in front of Terrance Williams.

"Every year you do fight for your job because every year they're always drafting the next guy," Harris said. "I know I took a step forward last year and I'm trying to improve on that. I'm a good return guy and I like returning kicks."

At 5-foot-11, Harris is not physically suited to be a top threat on the outside. Terrance Williams is 6-2, and can do that. 

What Harris should be able to is be an upgrade over Ogletree as the No. 3, at least, and return punts. If the Cowboys are using him as a receiver, and ask him top stop returning punts, then he should feel much safer.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Bob in Arlington

Terrance Williams was passed in the draft due to the number of drops he had at Baylor.

The rub was that he has small hands.

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