Ellis: Elite Blocking Not A Must For Second TE

IRVING, Texas -Whenever the possibility of Martellus Bennett leaving came up, and now that he's gone, we've gotten used to hearing that the Cowboys would miss his blocking.

I don't disagree. The Cowboys will miss his blocking. And that's about it.

Bennett is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. The thing is, though, he has proven to be far from the best receiving tight end. Far from it.

So, rather than taking the glass-half-empty approach to Bennett signing with the New York Giants, the Cowboys should try to make the best of it. As Lisa Simpson told me, the Chinese use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opportunity."

The thing is, the Cowboys' second tight end to doesn't have to be a dominating blocker. Jason Witten is a good blocker. Pretty good, not dominant. I think the offense would work just fine with another player of Witten's balanced skill set as opposed to Bennett's game, skewed heavily toward the blocking.

It's a passing league.

Would/could/should the Cowboys pick a tight end early in the draft next month? Yes.

At No. 14 overall, well, maybe not. But I wouldn't criticize the team for taking a tight end in the second round. Even if they had to move up a little bit to get a good one, it might prove to be worth it.

The New England Patriots are the blueprint for two-tight success, and neither Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez are blocking-first guys. Hernandez might as well be a wide receiver.

So what would be wrong with the Cowboys taking a good receiving tight end, even if he's just an average blocker?

Unfortunately, this isn't a great draft for tight ends. Stanford's Coby Fleener looks like a really good one, and his pro day workout on Thursday was dazzling. He ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds, and had a broad jump of more than 10 feet. Both measurements were significantly better than Bennett's back in 2008.

Fleener's performance might well have locked him in as a first-round pick. If the Cowboys want him, they'll have to move around in the draft. But remember, the Cowboys got Witten in the third round.

In the search for a new No. 2 tight end, they should be looking for the next Witten, not the next Dan Campbell.

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