WR Reggie Harrell: The Answer Man?

When the Cowboys decided against selecting a wide receiver in the 2005 NFL Draft, there was little doubt the team would look towards the Undrafted Free Agent market to try and fill a potential need. Is former TCU standout Reggie Harrell the Cowboys' answer man this year?

Think of the attributes coaches and general managers covet in wide receiver prospects:

Size? Check. Speed? Check. Production? Check.

This rookie wide receiver has all three attributes. At 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, he has the size and strength to go over the middle and survive the punishment that awaits him from eager safeties and linebackers. His 4.52 time in the 40 is significantly faster than the 4.65 reported by many before the draft, and is indicative of the wheels needed to stretch the defense by forcing opponents to honor the possibility of the deep ball. And in the run-first offense employed at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Reggie Harrell became the only player in school history to rack up 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

So why wasn't Harrell drafted? Harrell admitted he was surprised.

"I don't know -- I thought I would (get drafted)," he said at last weekend's rookie mini-camp at Valley Ranch. "It doesn't matter, though. It just gives me more fuel for the fire."

Perhaps he wasn't drafted because injuries prevented him from playing every game as a senior, when he caught 32 passes for 595 yards and four touchdowns -- a year after setting a school record with 1,012 receiving yards (on 58 receptions) as a junior at a school better known for having produced LaDanian Tomlinson and for a stingy defense. Perhaps it was because of concerns about his speed.

WR Reggie Harrell is hoping to stay near home, having played his college ball at TCU (in Fort Worth) after growing up in Arlington.
"I don't know where that 4.65 came from, but I saw it everywhere," Harrell said. "I ran a 4.52 at the Combine. Some of the coaches asked me what I was going to run, and I told them I'd run faster than they thought I can. And I did."

Whatever the reason, Harrell went unchosen in the draft's seven rounds. But the amount of attention he drew from teams interested in landing him as a free agent -- he also fielded calls from the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers -- showed that he was hardly an afterthought as an NFL prospect.

But the Cowboys were always the team for which Harrell wanted to play. Raised in Arlington, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth), Harrell grew up a fan of the Cowboys.

"It was always Dallas for me. If they were interested in me, this is where I wanted to sign," he said. "I love Coach (Bill) Parcells. I looked at how many receivers they drafted (none), and how many the other teams drafted, but it was going to be Dallas."

Like many undrafted free agents, Harrell said he realizes his chance to make the roster will center around his willingness -- and success fulfilling multiple roles. In addition to his receiving ability and exceptional downfield blocking, Harrell also is eager to take on extra duties on special teams, whether it's returning kicks (which he did during the mini-camp) or as a blocker or "gunner" -- Harrell said there's no limit to what he'd do to make the team.

"If they need me to block downfield, I'll block downfield," Harrell said. "If they me on special teams, that's OK, too. I've always wanted to play in the NFL, and I've always wanted to play for the Cowboys.

"Now it's up to me to prove that I deserve that chance."

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