Cowboys scout: Dez Bryant lost ability to win one-on-one battles

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant during game against the Chiefs
Nov 5, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys surprised many fans, and they certainly surprised Dez Bryant, when they released him ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, the team’s scouting chief Will McClay has opened up about the real reason behind the move, and it all boils down to production.

“It was a collective deal,” McClay said in a radio appearance with ESPN 103.3 FM (h/t Dallas Morning News). “The (inability) to win one-on-one, to win down field. There was inconsistency as well as some huge things in his play. So what’s best moving forward for Dez Bryant the Cowboys, we just made that decision. It’s a production-based business.”

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Bryant really wasn’t winning many of those one-on-one battles on the perimeter, and his stats lagged as a result. In his last three years in Dallas, Bryant was a shell of the receiver who dominated the league from 2012-14.

Due to injuries and potentially a lack of focus, he didn’t come close to eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in any of the last three campaigns. His final season with the Cowboys produced a mediocre stat line of 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns.

Now he’s a free agent, and instead of taking a multi-year deal with Baltimore he’s looking for a one-year, prove-it deal so he can cash in once again on a lucrative contract in 2019. We’ll be very interested to see how that goes, as it’s hard to imagine Bryant will ever be seen as one of the league’s best again.