- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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After using their first four picks of this year's draft on defense (wisely, I believe), the Dallas Cowboys used their fifth-round pick (No. 152 overall) on Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale. Nice pick and a recognizable name, but don't everybody get all excited thinking the Cowboys just nabbed their Laurent Robinson replacement in the fifth round. As is the case with every pick the Cowboys have made after first-rounder Morris Claiborne, Coale is a developmental pick whose talent and coachability appeals to a coaching staff that clearly plans to be around for a long time.
Coale was a very good playmaker in college and has lots of fun-looking wide receiver skills. He knows how to get separation from defenders. He has good hands and can make tough catches. His lack of size is going to cause him problems against bigger, stronger defensive players at the NFL level, however, and the key to his development will be his ability to overcome that issue. But he's known as a smart, high-character guy who makes the most of his ability, and there's nothing to say he can't learn what he needs to learn to become successful. In the meantime, as with everyone they've picked this week after Claiborne, he can help out on special teams.
As for that Robinson replacement, sure, maybe Coale gets into the mix. But I'd still bet on the Cowboys finding a bargain-bin veteran for that spot. You know, like they did last year with Robinson. And if whoever it is doesn't make the same kind of splash Robinson makes, they can just go back to throwing it to their other great receiving options more. Which was the plan going into training camp last year, because they found out what they had in Robinson.