It's another classic Spin Doctors battle, as an old Cowboy faces a new Cowboy. This feels eerily like the Billy Davis vs. Stepfret Williams debate in '98, when Romig scored the narrowest of victories over Harmon. Let's play the feud...
TO’s best comes out when he has something to prove -- he went off in his first Philadelphia season, and we saw a spike in the first two Dallas years. The Bills get the advantage of Owens on a short leash -- one-year deal, auditioning for his next contract. Receivers in their mid-30s aren't supposed to post 1,000-yard seasons with double-digit touchdowns, but Owens deserves props for his unreal workout routine -- he's got the body of a player five years younger.
Lee Evans(notes) won't get in the way -- he's a deep-route specialist while TO does his best work on the medium and goal-line stuff. Trent Edwards(notes) is no star but he's an improving young QB, accurate with the shorter throws. Owens won’t miss the NFC East corners -- his worst games came in-division last year -- and for all the hiccups we saw last season (catch-to-target rate under 50 percent), TO still made 15.2 yards a grab.
The clinching argument comes in the TD column. Williams has never topped eight scores in his six-year career, with a paltry 14 spikes over his last 43 games. Tony Romo(notes) will help some, but his first read figures to be Jason Witten(notes), anyway. Owens lives in the end zone –- he’s gone for 10, 15 and 13 scores the last three years –- and he’s collected nine TDs or more in every year this decade but 2005 (injury). Don’t let personalities get in the way, go for the six-point resume. I’ve got my popcorn ready.
Here's an attempt to frame the debate:
Would you rather have Tony Romo's No. 1 wide receiver or Trent Edwards' primary target? Is it better to invest in the Cowboys' offense or in Dick Jauron's?
Roy Williams is just 27 years old, he has a 1300-yard season to his credit, and he'll inherit T.O.'s old split-end spot with the Cowboys. He'll be a heavily targeted receiver in an explosive offense. Yes, he was a post-trade disappointment last year, but he also wasn't healthy and he was picking up the offense on the fly. Williams is still an elite wideout with a terrific combination of size and athleticism, and he's never been surrounded by the sort of talent that surrounds him now.
Owens is 35 years old, and the decline phase of his career has likely just begun. T.O.'s decreased in every fantasy category in 2008, and it fell off in a few significant non-fantasy areas as well (yards-per-reception, yards-after-catch, first downs). Both Williams and Owens rank as WR2s, but you're catching Roy in a better situation and at a much better point in the career arc.
On draft day, you're not necessarily looking for the name with the better resume. You're drafting for the season ahead, not the season behind –- and even if you were drafting for the season behind, Dallas averaged 42.9 more passing yards per game than Buffalo last year, and they scored 15 more touchdowns through the air. Williams is well-positioned to dramatically outproduce his ADP.
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