(PHOTO: Tavon Austin (11) was limited by a wrist injury last season, but still contributed to the Rams' run to the playoffs. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.)
By Chad Conine
It was a rough off-season for Cowboys fans who took the double departure of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant like a 1-2 punch to the gut.
While DFW fans might not be quite ready to process life after Witten and Dez, the team made moves for a semi-remodel of the offense. Ezekiel Elliott will still figure prominently in the Cowboys’ game plan, but when he’s not toting it, some new faces are likely to get involved.
So introductions are in order:
WR/RB Tavon Austin, 5-8, 179 — Austin, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams in April, was limited to 13 reception in 2017 after having surgery on his left wrist in May of 2017. He still contributed to the Rams’ offense by rushing for 270 yards (4.6 per carry) and a touchdown. At his best, Austin caught 52 passes for 473 yards and rushed 52 times for 434 yards with 9 total TDs in 2015. It will likely remain a mystery how Dallas plans to use the versatile Austin until the regular season begins.
WR Allen Hurns, 6-3, 201 — Hurns, who signed as a free agent with the Cowboys in late March, caught 39 passes for 484 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 10 games for Jacksonville last season. Hurns’ best season so far came in 2015 when he hauled in 64 balls for 1,031 yards and 10 TDs in 15 games. He hasn’t played in all 16 games since his rookie campaign in 2014 when he posted 51 receptions for 677 yards and 6 TDs.
WR Deonte Thompson, 6-0, 205 — Thompson, who signed with the Cowboys in mid-March, is coming off a career year when he caught 38 passes for 555 yards and 2 TDs while splitting time between Buffalo and Chicago.
WR Michael Gallup, 6-1, 198 — The Cowboys grabbed Gallup in the third round of the draft. In two seasons at Colorado State, he piled up 176 receptions for 2,690 yards and 21 TDs.
FB Jamize Olawale, 6-1, 240 — Olawale came to Dallas from Oakland, where he played in all 16 games and started 7 last season. He might be more of a blocker than anything. He had only 9 rushes in 12 games for the Raiders last season. However, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry and caught 6 passes.
TE Dalton Schultz, 6-5, 244 — When Witten announced his retirement just before the draft, Dallas responded by picking Schultz in the fourth round. He played a limited but effective role in the Cardinal passing game as he had more than 200 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Schultz averaged 10.1 yards per catch in his college career.
WR Cedrick Wilson, 6-2, 197 — Wilson, a sixth-round draft pick, had a prolific 2017 as he posted 83 receptions for 1,511 yards and 7 TDs for Boise State in 2017.
RB Bo Scarbrough, 6-2, 228 — Scarbrough, a seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama, is a big back with a nose for the end zone. He carried 249 times in his last two season with the Crimson Tide and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. He also bulled his way into the end zone 19 times.