In somewhat surprising news, the Dallas Cowboys need for a tight end got that much more glaring as Jason Witten is expected to retire to join ESPN’s Monday Night Football team. While the Cowboys are likely to select a tight end at some point in the draft, here’s a look at the current tight ends on the Cowboys roster courtesy of Our Lads.
Geoff Swam/ Rico Gathers/ Blake Jarwin
Of the group, Rico Gathers may have the most upside, but has done little to prove he can be the Cowboys long-term solution. According to NFL.com, Gathers only has pre-season stats, and has not played during the regular season. Gathers played at Baylor, and has an intriguing basketball background that some of the top NFL tight ends have as well.
Geoff Swaim played in 15 games last season, starting in two contests. Swaim is entering his fourth season, and notched just two catches for 25 yards last season. Here was NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein’s scouting report on Swaim coming out of Texas.
STRENGTHS: Above average athlete. Willing to stick his face in the mix and block against powerful ends. Has a decent frame and plays to his size.
WEAKNESSES: Very average quickness and separation ability and will need to prove he can make contested catches. Limited in terms of what teams can ask of him.
During the Cowboys pre-draft press conference, the Cowboys spoke glowingly about their current tight end group even before the Witten news broke. Based on the press conference, Stephen Jones and the Cowboys were obviously expecting Witten to play this season.
As long as Jason Witten wants to play football, I’m betting on Jason. But I think more than that, I think some guys are getting overlooked on this football team. You talk about [Blake] Jarwin, you talk about [Geoff] Swaim. Those are some players that we really have high opinions of. It’s real easy to get lost in the shuffle when you’re playing behind a Hall of Famer like Jason Witten who never wants to come off the field. That’s difficult. When you see them in practice every day, obviously you add Rico [Gathers] to that mix, and we did have [James] Hanna retire. We feel real positive about that spot.
The good news for Cowboys fans is there are a number of quality tight ends still on the board. Dallas has nine picks heading into Day 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft.
Source: Heavy Sports