Cole Beasley emerging as slot option

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The summer of Cole Beasley could end with him on the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in the fall.

He went from an undrafted free-agent wide receiver from SMU to impressing the coaches in offseason practices.

But less than two weeks into training camp, Beasley left the team for personal reasons. The Cowboys gave him 48 hours to reconsider.

He did. Since his return in early August, Beasley went from receiving third-team snaps to becoming the first-team slot receiver.

He left it all out on the field during his seven-catch, 104-yard effort in the second preseason game last week at San Diego in which he threw up.

Beasley's effort doesn't surprise SMU coach June Jones, who worked with Cowboys wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson in Atlanta and talked to him about Beasley before the draft.

"[Beasley] is a role player and he'll catch the ball and he's really smart and he plays in that 20-yard box," Jones said. "He's really, really good. Jimmy understood more than a lot of NFL people. We coached together and he trusted me and he trusted what he sees."

What Robinson and the Cowboys saw was a small, 5-foot-8 receiver considered quarterback-friendly. He finds open spots in zone defenses and makes the catch. His speed allows him to beat linebackers and safeties in space.

In man coverage, he's quick off the line of scrimmage and can make catches on slants. If he has some separation, he can make plays.

That is what the Cowboys want in their receivers, at least the backups -- someone to make plays.

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