When you look at the projected starters for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys on offense, it is difficult to look past QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant, and now rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott.
For Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, these are the three players that will most closely determine the success of the Dallas offense. However, a healthy passing duo of Romo and Bryant combined with the rushing attack Elliott will provide certainly opens up opportunities for other players to thrive against unsuspecting defenses.
Perhaps no player on the roster fits this role better than Lucky Whitehead at the moment. Signed as an undrafted free agent entering 2015, Whitehead found his role by contributing mostly as a kickoff return specialist early in the year. As the offense continued to struggle to move the ball consistently without Tony Romo, Whitehead was used more as a runner and a receiver.
The elusive and shifty Whitehead also began returning punts for the Cowboys, earning the trust of the coaches to gamble on his upside in place of less-than-perfect ball security.
Now entering his second season, Lucky can hope to make the same special teams contributions as he did in 2015 while also getting more work in the offense.
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to utilizing Lucky Whitehead in the Cowboys offense. With Tony Romo back on the field, defenses are already going to be hesitant about stacking the box against Ezekiel Elliott. While the Cowboys offensive line springs Elliott to the second level of the defense easily on a consistent basis, it opens up outside and misdirection running plays for Whitehead – who can capture the edge against the fastest of defenders.
If defenses do decide to sell-out against stopping Elliott, we already know what Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are capable of. Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, and Jason Witten are all also established targets for Romo to get the ball to. Lucky has a chance to also be one of these targets on shorter routes, offering a release against blitzes that teams will try to throw at Romo. This was a role that Lance Dunbar played early in the 2015 season before being lost for the year, and is now one that Whitehead can hopefully take hold of before Dunbar is available to return.
At its absolute full potential, the 2016 Dallas Cowboys offense is going to be one of the most fun units in the entire league to take in on Sundays. While Cowboys Nation awaits what’s in store for us from Romo, Bryant, and Elliott, you should also keep an eye on players like Lucky Whitehead – who can completely change a game with one explosive play.
What are you expecting from Lucky Whitehead in 2016? Comment below to start the conversation!
“Cowboys Sophomores” is an ongoing series that will look at second-year players and their roles for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys. For yesterday’s article on defensive end Ryan Russell, click here!