Entering the draft, wide receiver was very high on my draft priority list due to the lack of proven talent on the roster after Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. The Cowboys probably could have addressed the position earlier in the draft, but they did find a very talented player in the fifth-round.
The Cowboys selected Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale with the 152nd overall pick. Hokie players usually come into the NFL well prepared, as they are well coached and play against a high level of competition. Coale was a very solid football player to get that late in the draft.
Many remember Coale from this play from last year's Sugar Bowl:
Danny Coale Robbed of Amazing TD Catch (via GameDayESPN)
- 23 years old
- 5'11, 201
- Wide Receiver
- Virginia Tech
- Lexington, Virginia
- 54 games started
- 165 receptions (2nd in Virginia Tech history)
- 2,658 yards (2nd in Virginia Tech history)
- 16.1 yards per reception
- 8 receiving TD
- 13 punts, 565 yards, 43.5 yards per punt
Coale was very productive for Virginia Tech and will offer the Cowboys some versatility as a wide receiver. What is fascinating to me is that he can actually punt the football. That may never happen in the NFL for him, but it's pretty cool to know that he could always fill in there if needed.
He has good size for the position, 5'11 and 201 pounds, but he also has some legitimate speed. He ran a 4.50 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, but performed much better at his pro day where he ran a 4.37 40 yard dash. Coale also had a 37 inch vertical, 4.09 20 yard shuttle and a 6.64 three-cone drill at his pro day.
This is a very good athlete who has the game tape to back it up. Do not let the lack of touchdowns fool you, Coale can make the big play, but he was more of a possession type of wide receiver for Virginia Tech. His quarterback and head coach had very positive things to say about him.
"It’s tough to even describe Danny. He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met in my life," said quarterback Logan Thomas "He can do it all. He’s a punter, he’s a receiver, and the classroom is just another dimension of who he is and what he can do. It’s very nice to have a guy like that on our team. It makes not only the team better, but the people on the team better."
"He’s just neat," said coach Frank Beamer. "He really is neat. He’s really -- you look at him and he’s a really good football player. He’s smart, he understands the game, and that shows out there. I think he’s sneaky fast. He gets away from you before you realize he’s there. He’s just the total package. You feel so proud he represents Virginia Tech, and that he’s been with you here in your program for four years and what a delight he’s been. What a great representative he’s been, and how many big plays he’s been involved in here at Virginia Tech. He’s special, real special."
- Good size for the position
- Smart player
- Very quick off the line
- Deceptive speed
- Catches the football cleanly, great hands
- Excellent route runner
- Has a niche for getting open
- Versatile player who can lineup anywhere at the different wide receiver positions
- Is willing to go across the middle, can be physical
- Ready to contribute instantly on the NFL level
- The "RKG", right kind of guy Jason Garrett looks for (watch this to see what I mean)
- Lacks top end strength
- Isn't a "make you miss" type of explosive player
- Isn't a great blocker
Todd McShay loves him, and I gotta agree with what he says about him in the below.
Three negatives, that's it and they are the few issues I have with his game at this point in time. Coale is a savvy route runner who has amazing hands. He may be one of the best route runners on the team right now, and he is a rookie. Coale just has a unique ability to get wide open during the course of a game. In a lot of his big plays, you notice that there is nobody near him and he is wide open. Chalk it up to his ability as a route runner, which is something that the Cowboys are going to need in a #3 wide receiver.
In my opinion, his combination of route running and reliable hands could earn him a lot of money playing in the NFL for a very long time. He may not be exciting and make guys miss, but he just finds ways to get open and make plays. This is the type of wide receiver the Cowboys desperately needed to add to the roster when they lost Laurent Robinson in free agency.
Robinson developed chemistry with Tony Romo and had a breakout season in 2011. One element that he brought was the ability to extend plays and change his route according to the situation. Coale can do that, but just isn't as explosive as Robinson was.
It's unfortunate that Coale broke a toe in a conditioning drill during organized team activities recently. It may sound simple to some, a broken toe, but it can actually be quite painful. Coale's goal is to be back for training camp at the end of July.
"That’s the goal," he said Wednesday at Valley Ranch after an OTA practice. The fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech suffered a broken foot two weeks ago in the opening week of OTAs."
"Whenever I come back, I’m going to try my hardest at that opportunity," he said. "But right now, I’m kind of focused on this and getting this right and then, when the opportunity comes, I’ll try to make the most of it. But I don’t want to get too far ahead right now."
Coale's impact may not be felt immediately this year due to the lack of time he may miss because of the injury he suffered, but this is the type of draft pick that could have a very long career with the Cowboys. This was a great pick for the Cowboys talent wise, but they also continue to add high character players to their roster via the draft