Even as a third-round pick, wide receiver Jalen Tolbert has become arguably the most hyped rookie in the Dallas Cowboys 2022 draft class. Perhaps that’s self-explanatory due to the fact that wide receiver will always be a more attractive position for the fan than an offensive or defensive lineman.
But the hype around Tolbert might be real for even more reasons, including a shot at establishing a record in the Cowboys’ history books.
Known mainly for his abilities to win vertically and win contested catches, Tolbert will get the chance to start right away for the Cowboys. Michael Gallup’s health status is still in question to open the season and even Stephen Jones has mentioned the possibility of him missing multiple games.
Even if Gallup was healthy and ready to go, 11 personnel is the new standard in the NFL. Tolbert will naturally find playing time early in the year. Dallas can find ways to deploy him right away using the best of his skillset.
With such opportunities, Jalen Tolbert has a shot at being the Cowboys’ first rookie to record 1,000 receiving yards since the AFL-NFL merger.
Here are the Cowboys’ rookies with the most receiving yards, per Pro Football Reference:
- CeeDee Lamb, 935 (2020)
- Mike Sherrard, 744 (1986)
- Terrance Williams, 736 (2013)
- Antonio Bryant, 733 (2002)
- Michael Irvin, 654 (1988)
- Dez Bryant, 561 (2010)
- Michael Gallup, 507 (2018)
The one rookie to reach the 1,000 receiving yards mark is Bob Hayes, who finished the 1965 season with 1,003.
Lamb came pretty close to breaking the record in 2021, which was remarkably impressive considering Dak Prescott missed most of the season. Not to mention, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup took up plenty of targets themselves.
In 2022, Tolbert will face less competition at wide receiver and has one more game to break the record, given the 17-game schedule was just introduced last year. Plus, if he’s indeed used as a vertical guy first and foremost, reaching the 1,000 yards doesn’t sound that crazy for the rookie.
Featured image via Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports