Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/13/12

The Dallas Cowboys opened mini-camp on Tuesday with more than one gaping void on their roster. First, cornerback Mike Jenkins, who was missing from OTAs, showed up to mini-camps, but did not participate due to an undisclosed shoulder injury. Then, there is the issue of the #3 receiver. Laurent Robinson is gone, and there isn’t much behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, causing the Cowboys to declare open season for that roster spot.

Kevin Ogletree is the best bet to win the #3 receiver job.

The candidates in the running are Andre Holmes, Danny Coale, Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway, and Kevin Ogletree. Many believe Kevin Ogletree is going to win that role, and just from two short mini-camp days, he is the frontrunner. However, Jerry Jones mentioned the potential of Ogletree, should he win the role of #3 receiver, and he also mentioned a former Cowboys star, and the option of bringing this player in.

Firstly, I want to address the comment on the “potential” of Ogletree. I don’t want a #3 receiver in today’s NFL to be a guy with yet-to-be-fulfilled potential. I want that guy to be proven. Potential is great, but Ogletree hasn’t lived up to that potential yet. He still has a chance to, but I want a guy who has been there before. Ogletree had the opportunity to win the same position last year, and failed. So I have no reason to believe that he is ready for that role this early on. However, my views on that can change, since he has an entire summer workout season to win that role. I believe in Ogletree, and feel he can be a good fit on this offense, but just basing his chance of winning the role on potential is dangerous.

As for proven, Jerry Jones called former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens a friend, and that he would talk to him and give him advice about landing a job with an NFL team. However, Jerry Jones emphasized that the Cowboys would not be making any changes to their receivers. I’m sure hearing that brought a collective sigh of relief to DFW.

If I were Jerry though, I’d consider it, at least for a moment. Owens is a proven receiver, despite him being on the decline and being a huge locker room distraction. And while the Cowboys probably shouldn’t get T.O. per se, they should at least consider getting a player like him, just without the baggage. There are plenty of talented receivers in this league, and if the Cowboys need to draw from that well, that’s always an option. Last year it proved to be the better option as they found a gem in Laurent Robinson. So the Cowboys should keep that avenue open if need be.

But let’s not take anything away from Ogletree. He does look great in mini-camps, and if he does win the third spot, it will be earned, even if the Cowboys offense still has red zone woes. In today’s mini-camp session, the Cowboys went 0-for-5 from the 7-yd line, as David Carr threw 3 incompletions, and Scandrick dropped a potential Romo INT.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s still early. It’s only mini-camps. But for the team dubbed as “America’s Team”, every issue is magnified tenfold, especially chronic issues like red zone scoring opportunities, and the lack of depth amongst the receiving corps. That makes it all the more important for Ogletree and others to step up and try to win that slot receiver role. Ogletree does have potential, and he can be a star for the Cowboys, but he can also continue wasting that potential. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t.

Because if the red zone continues to be the bane of the Cowboys existence, the Cowboys will need Ogletree, and everything he has to offer.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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