There’s been some talk in Dallas about Dennis Houston maybe being a factor. He wasn’t even drafted, but the Cowboys are looking for help at wide receiver (with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson gone and Michael Gallup and James Washington both perhaps out until October.)

Nowadays, the Cowboys have CeeDee Lamb, tight end Dalton Schultz, and not much else in terms of pass catchers.

But Dak Prescott says he likes what he’s seen out of third-rounder Jalen Tolbert, and also undrafted Dennis Houston. Houston (pictured) caught 90 passes for 1,015 yards, with 8 TDs, at Western Illinois last year.

"I just know, the young guys that we've got, the guys that we already have are going to step in and take on bigger roles,” Prescott said this weekend at training camp. “I continue to say ‘exciting,’ but that's what it is.''

Hoping for Houston to continue to be a factor into the regular season, that’s a big ask. It doesn’t happen often. Only four times in the last 10 years has an undrafted rookie finished with top-50 numbers (PPR scoring) in his first season in the pros. (The top 50, I’m thinking, is the point where the player is definitely worthy of being on a roster in a typical 12-team league.)

In the last 20 years, only 42 undrafted receivers have ever had a top-50 season in their career. So on average, you’re getting about two such new wide receivers per season (but the vast majority of those guys are players further into their careers). If Houston has a top-50 season in him (which is unlikely) it is far more likely to come in 2023 or 2024.

Five undrafted wide receivers in the last 20 years have had a top-10 season during their career, but it’s way too early to suggest Houston might be another Wes Welker, Adam Thielen or Doug Baldwin.

In the chart below, you’re seeing only the best season for each player. It shows the 42 undrafted wide receivers in the last 20 years who have had at least one top-50 season in their career.

2011Wes Welker, N.E.8122####9335.92
2011Victor Cruz, NYG282####9289.93
2009Miles Austin, Dall.481####11278.86
2018Adam Thielen, Min.5113####9309.37
2004Drew Bennett, Ten.480####11277.28
2016Doug Baldwin, Sea.694####7253.88
2006Mike Furrey, Det.498####6242.613
2008Lance Moore, N.O.47992810231.815
2011Nate Washington, Ten.974####8224.815
2017Robby Anderson, NYJ2639417200.018
2016Tyrell Williams, S.D.269####7216.919
2015Allen Hurns, Jac.264####10227.119
2010Davone Bess, Mia.3798205190.723
2018Adam Humphries, T.B.4768165188.724
2020Cole Beasley, Buff.9829674207.727
2017Jermaine Kearse, NYJ6658105176.028
2021Jakobi Meyers, N.E.3838662188.829
2015Kamar Aiken, Balt.3759445199.429
2010Danny Amendola, St.L.2856893180.030
2015Willie Snead, N.O.2699843185.432
2021Kendrick Bourne, N.E.5558005182.832
2013Rod Streater, Oak.2608884174.533
2002Brian Finneran, Atl.4568386175.833
2004David Patten, N.E.8448007166.534
2016Cameron Meredith, Chi.2668884183.538
2005Eric Parker, S.D.4577253153.038
2011Malcom Floyd, S.D.8438565158.638
2011David Nelson, Buff.2616585156.839
2003Bobby Shaw, Buff.5567324153.239
2018Taylor Gabriel, Chi.5676882153.941
2002Derrius Thompson, Was.4537734162.042
2021Tim Patrick, Den.5537345156.442
2010Anthony Armstrong, Was.1448713149.143
2021Marquez Callaway, N.O.2466986151.843
2005Antonio Chatman, G.B.2495495137.343
2016Dontrelle Inman, S.D.3588104163.047
2020Keelan Cole, Jac.4556426155.447
2013Marlon Brown, Balt.1495247145.248
2021Allen Lazard, G.B.4405138142.548
2014Andrew Hawkins, Cle.4638242158.948
2012Danario Alexander, S.D.3376587144.849
2008Greg Camarillo, Mia.3556132128.450

—Ian Allan