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Cowboys expect big 'jump' from wide receivers Jalen Tolbert, Jalen Brooks

With the Dallas Cowboys kicking off OTAs on Tuesday, all eyes will be on the wide receiver crew.

The attention is not just because star CeeDee Lamb is expected to skip the voluntary workouts. Even when Lamb is on the field, the Cowboys have questions down the depth chart.

Thirty-year-old No. 2 wideout Brandin Cooks looked like he lost a step last season, generating 54 catches for 657 yards -- a career low for a season he played at least 15 games. Cooks did generate eight touchdowns but had 10 games of fewer than 40 yards.

Beyond Cooks and Lamb, the questions grow. Gone is veteran Michael Gallup, who never seemed to get over his latest injury. With Dallas mostly staying out of free agency, they're counting on young players developing into key pieces.

The top two options are Jalen Tolbert, who generated 22 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns last season, and second-year-pro Jalen Brooks. KaVontae Turpin and sixth-round rookie Ryan Flournoy are also options to earn reps.

"We expect all of those guys to make a jump," wide receivers coach Robert Prince said, via the team's official website. "It starts with [Jalen Tolbert]. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and we expect the same thing to happen for him going into Year 3. And Jalen Brooks, he works hard and he's one of those guys that's always studying, and he can play all of the [WR] positions -- so we're looking forward to seeing what he can do this year as well."

With questions at receiver, the Cowboys could lean further into multiple tight end sets. Starter Jake Ferguson figures to be the club's No. 3 pass-catching target. Luke Schoonmaker and Peyton Hendershot could also carve out roles to help buoy the passing game that lacks proven wide receivers.

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