Noah's (character) arc?
The Cowboys added to their list of football faux pas this offseason, sending star wideout Amari Cooper to the Browns in exchange for a fifth-round selection and sixth-round pick swap, the gridiron equivalent of two sticks of bubble gum.
Cooper has gotten off to a fast start burnt orange and brown, racking up 101 yards and a receiving touchdown in each of the Browns' past two games. Dallas, meanwhile, is reeling. CeeDee Lamb hasn't pulled up many trees yet, accounting for just 109 receiving yards through three games. Dak Prescott is injured ... again. The offensive line looks porous.
There haven't been many bright spots for Dallas so far this season. But one player has risen from the ashes to establish himself as one of the team's more valuable assets.
That player is 26-year-old wide receiver Noah Brown. Over the course of a year, Brown has gone from scarcely used special teams gunner to No. 1 receiving option. Perhaps it's only a phase — Lamb has racked up more than 2,000 yards in the past two years combined and certainly has the talent to be Dallas' lead pass-catcher for years to come.
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But Brown's progression is something no one expected. He's a legitimate threat in the X, something that couldn't be said about him a few months ago.
With that, here's what you need to know about Brown, Dallas' diamond in the rough who is glimmering in the spotlight that is Jerryland.
Noah Brown is a 6-foot-2, 228-pound beast of a wide receiver who has turned his tremendous frame into production in his sixth year in the pros.
Brown initially made his bones at Ohio State, where he played from 2014-2016. Despite arriving to Columbus as a highly touted prospect, Brown didn't see the field too much until his redshirt sophomore season. He came on the scene that year, nabbing seven touchdowns — four of which came when the Buckeyes faced then-No. 5 Oklahoma. In all, Brown established himself as a perfect running mate for All-American teammate Curtis Samuel.
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In a shocking move, Brown declared for the 2017 NFL Draft despite having two years of eligibility left. Brown's relative inexperience at the college level, coupled with some less-than-stellar results during combine drills, precipitated a fall in the draft boards. And despite being billed as a fifth- or sixth-rounder prior to the draft, Brown had to wait until the seventh round to hear his name called.
It was Dallas that ultimately picked up the phone, taking Brown with the 239th pick in the 2017 Draft. According to Jerry Jones, Brown had a high-profile friend vouching for him and his talent.
"I don't mind telling you that the No. 1 agent for Brown was Zeke Elliott," Jones told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News back in 2017. "Of course, he really had a lot of neat things about Brown and he was of course there [Ohio State] with Brown two years ago. He has a high value on what Brown can potentially bring to the table."
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Elliott's reference didn't result in many receiving reps for Brown, who rarely saw the field in non-special teams opportunities during his first few years in the league. But he stuck around on the roster, cementing his status as a valuable glue guy who might be able to offer something more on the offensive end every now and then.
Brown has thoroughly smashed through that glass ceiling in recent weeks. After combining for just 39 catches in his first four years of pro ball, Brown has already collected 10 passes in two games in 2022. He scored his first touchdown in the big leagues, too — an acrobatic, over-the-shoulder snag in the corner of the end zone against Cincinnati in Week 2.
RT IF YOU DID NOT BELIEVECOOPER RUSH TO NOAH BROWN TOUCHDOWN!(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/k4MwlePsVh— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys)
The person who retrieved the ball for him? None other than his longtime friend Zeke. That will certainly help you boost your standing among Cowboys fans.
Brown is still a relative unknown in the pro game despite having turned out for America's Team since the 2017 season. However, he appears to be on the cusp of a major breakout. Lamb's reputation precedes him; the likelihood is that teams will match their No. 1 defensive backs on him.
That should create space and opportunities for Brown, a player who has seemingly developed beneath the shadows. Cooper's departure was a real blow to a Cowboys team that had hopes for playoff glory this year. Perhaps Brown's recent surge can empower a team still looking to find itself.
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Lamb has been a YAC machine in his short NFL career. The 23-year-old put up 441 yards after catch in 2021, comparable with Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson, among others. The Oklahoma product hit the 1,000-yard plateau for the first time, dovetailing with Amari Cooper as Dallas' No. 1. There's no doubt that Lamb is the present and the future of the position for the 'Boys.
After snagging just 39 balls across his first four years in Dallas, Brown has finally cemented his status as an NFL-caliber wide receiver. He has 10 catches for 159 yards through the first two games of the season. He also scored a vital touchdown in Dallas' 20-17 win over Cincinnati last week. Can someone say breakout?
As far as third options go, Gallup isn't too shabby. The 26-year-old is three years removed from an 1,100-yard season. But he's still put up solid numbers when he's seen the field, serving as a steady hand for Prescott to look to when the pocket collapses. Gallup is coming off an ACL tear, but is expected to feature soon for the Cowboys, with a Week 4 season debut against the Commanders looking more likely.
There's not too much to say about Fehoko, admittedly. The 24-year-old has made just two catches for 12 yards so far this season. You can't imagine he'll feature too much for the Cowboys this year unless injuries start ravaging their wide receiver room.
One of the feel good stories of the 2022 USFL season, Turpin's MVP efforts with the Generals translated into an NFL contract. At 5-foot-9, 152 pounds, Turpin's NFL future seems tied to his explosiveness in the return game. And although the sample size is quite small, Turpin has collected 37 yards on three punt returns.
A third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Tolbert has a long way to go before picking up real game time for Dallas.
Houston, a former star at FCS school Western Illinois, is on the Cowboys' practice squad. Unless something drastic happens, you can't envision him playing any real minutes for Dallas this year.