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Arland Bruce’s Absence Means Cowboys Will Likely Play Big at Wide Receiver

Outside of Brennan Presley, the Cowboys have a bunch of monsters at WR.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — After a ton of turnover early in the offseason, the Cowboys’ wide receiver room experienced some more shuffling last week.

Iowa transfer slot receiver Arland Bruce IV is no longer taking part in team activities after he was named in a gambling investigation last week. Bruce was supposed to be a contributor in the slot opposite Brennan Presley in 2023, and without Bruce, the Cowboys don’t have a ton of traditional slot receivers outside of Presley.

But luckily for the Pokes, they do have a few receivers that have been asked to be versatile in the past.

Blaine Green made a transition from wide receiver to the now-defunct Cowboy back position toward the end of OSU’s 2021 season. He was supposed to fully make the transition to a hybrid tight end last season before a preseason wrist injury kept him out for the entire year.

Rashod Owens is another receiver who has been asked to play multiple positions, including some tight end last season.

“We’ll move some guys around,” Gundy said. “We’ve got guys who can play multiple positions, right? Rashod’s played multiple positions. Green’s played multiple positions. [Bruce] was practicing really well and was gonna be a factor in our team, I’ll put it that way. So now we have to bounce some guys around a little bit.”

Green and Owens are a different type receiver than Bruce. Bruce was listed at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds on the Cowboys’ roster. Green is 6-1, 220, and Owens is 6-2, 219. So while those two might do the same job Bruce did, it’ll look a little different.

Owens has seemed like he has been on the fringes of regular targets for a few years now, often jumping from one receiver spot to another once a teammate went down with injury. The past two seasons have seen Owens catch 23 passes for 342 yards and a score.

As a true freshman in OSU’s Fiesta Bowl-winning 2021 season, Green caught 21 passes for 314 yards and a score. It was an excellent freshman season that Green should build on with how much he has physically developed since then.

Even with Bruce’s exit, the Cowboys still have a fairly deep receiver room, and it was particularly deep with big-bodied guys. Here is a list of all of OSU’s receiver who are at least 6-foot-1 and weigh at least 195 pounds:

2Talyn Shettron6-2195
5Jaden Bray6-2200
8Blaine Green6-1220
10Rashod Owens6-2219
17Leon Johnson III6-5207
83Cale Cabbiness6-2200
88De’Zhaun Stribling6-3205

Outside of Presley, that’s most of the anticipated contributors at wide receiver. Not all of those guys can play on the outside all of the time, so in a weird way, this could help get some more big-bodied pass-catchers on the field.

“When you’re on the outside, you get more one-one-one matchups,” Green said. “… You have to think a little bit more on the inside because it’s more navigating through coverages. Sort of like Cover 2, you gotta find the zones. You’re not really running full speed as much as you do on the outside, having to push downfield and stuff like that. Of course we’ve got plays where you push downfield, but inside you gotta be able to read the coverage a little bit more. It’s more mind games than I’d say the outside.”

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