Cole Beasley: Too Much Sauce and Not Enough Credit
Football has always been a battlefield upon which brawn has commonly been mixed with guile and cunning. It is one of the most addictive sports in our culture today and it is not hard to see why. 5 out of the 7 days in a week are dominated by a “Clash of the Titans” on the gridiron nationwide, but not everyone is meant for greatness.
To be frank, many people don’t stand a chance of even being a blip on the radar at the highest levels of football: the NFL. Most people strolling down the street on a random weekday might see a guy at 5’ 8” and 175 lbs (soaking wet) might see a teacher, engineer or firefighter. Many might pass right by him. Ignoring the slight figure would be to their own detriment because that would mean passing the Cowboys leading receiver and the No. 33 receiver in the NFL in 2016: Cole Beasley.
The obvious thing to point out is that not only is he leading in receiving, but he represents everything that is working for this team. At only 27, and in his fifth season, he is having an almost improbable campaign. Week to week Beasley is making circus catches, taking hits and just playing good, sound football. While it may seem apt to compare him to the likes of Wes Welker, he will be the first to tell you that he feels he has a better skill set. For example, shortly after Tony Romo's return to practice, Beasley was asked by Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News if his body was hurting at all from the power of Romo's arm. Beasley replied, "I catch with my hands, baby." All of this coming from the local product of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex product who converted from quarterback to receiver upon entering Southern Methodist University in 2008.
Cole helped the Mustangs win their first bowl game since their “Pony Excess” days and the NCAA death penalty. After back to back 1000 yard receiving seasons, he declared for the 2012 NFL draft where he would go undrafted to his hometown Dallas Cowboys. His ferocity, great hands, and ability to get YAC went without question, but he could not escape the specter of his size and the doom that spelled for many NFL hopefuls. Even through a personal tragedy that was rumored to possibly end his NFL career before it even started, he made an impression and the Cowboys took a flyer on him. Needless to say, he hasn’t looked back since and Jerry Jones has found an investment that is paying dividends.
Much is made of the slot position in the NFL with the likes of Randall Cobb in Green Bay or Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona, but the position can be feast or famine for many. Beasley doesn’t hide much because his stature does not afford him that opportunity. Preferring to take on the NFL’s best across the middle and up the numbers down the sidelines makes him a mad scientist on the field. His small frame often becomes a weapon intermixed with his elusive speed and lack of fear of taking on big hits. Beasley has walked away from many sizable contact plays only to return to the field a few snaps later for more. He has worked without much fanfare, taking on the NFL’s best on his way to almost 700 yards and 5 touchdowns in this 2016 campaign.
Certainly Beasley doesn’t seem to take well to comparing himself to other players, but the most accurate comparison for him would be NBA journeyman Nate Robinson. Fiery, beloved by his teammates and never one to back down from a challenge many forget that before the 5’ 9” guard was soaring to the basket on the hardwood, he was a star running back. Robinson was a football standout at the University of Washington and has never let his size determine whether he could compete at a professional level. Beasley has some hops as well and can be seen on YouTube dunking on the court with ease: maybe the two have more in common than we will ever know.
Dallas certainly needs Beasley, and it became painfully obvious when their number one receiver Dez Bryant was sidelined with a series of injuries earlier this season. Cole easily supplanted the much larger Terrance Williams and overshadowed the inexperience of Lucky Whitehead and Brice Butler. This is a team that has welcomed Beasley with open arms and has been handsomely rewarded for it. Dak Prescott will almost certainly tell you that he has developed a worthwhile connection with Beasley and it is a large part of why he could be in the Rookie of the Year conversation. The Cowboys have forced themselves into the greatest NFL minds of today as true Super Bowl contenders. The success of America's Team has come as a direct result of a full team effort and the stellar play of number 11.
Husband, Father and Lifelong Football Fan. You can follow Brett on Twitter @bretwil07pfs