IRVING, Texas -- After moving up the Cowboys' depth chart in 2015, Geoff Swaim is going into his second year in the NFL with an opportunity to follow one of the greatest Cowboys tight ends of all time.
Swaim recorded just one reception last season but offseason workouts with one of his role models just might be the key to increasing his playing time.
"It's interesting competing against a guy that I've been watching since I was a little kid. So, now being able to watch Witten and learn from him, it's a privilege really," Swaim said. "He's great about sharing what he knows and he's very unselfish. It doesn't necessarily feel as much like competition as it feels like we're working together towards a common goal."
The coaches like him for his blocking abilities but Swaim hopes working with Witten will have positive effects on his life as a whole. Though playing in several games last year, Swaim said his marginal impact on the field offensively puts him almost in the same position as a rookie and he's eager to gain all the knowledge he can from Witten.
"Fourteen years in the NFL you're going to learn a few things and he's honestly mastered it," Swaim said. "I don't think there's a tight end on this roster that doesn't model some part of their game after Witten. He just does things the right way, off the field and on the field. That's something I really look for in a guy that I look up to."
The Texas ex has a specific strategy to ensure that he doesn't regress in his development. He takes the practice field everyday with one thing in mind, such as his footwork, that he wants to really focus on and he moves on to something else the next day.
Swaim's development will need to continue rapidly because with training camp coming in a few short weeks, the Cowboys coaching staff will be watching. Witten and Hanna are healthy and ready to go as the one and two. However, Gavin Escobar is still rehabilitating from his torn right Achilles that he suffered in game 14 against the Jets. The Cowboys are also eyeing the athleticism of former Baylor basketball forward Rico Gathers.
"There's always stuff that I'm working on and it's important not to try to do too much because there's so many things I want to improve that if I went out there to do everything at once I'd regress," Swaim said.
It might be in Oxnard, Calif., at training camp if not during preseason matchups where Swaim showcases his abilities and athleticism, playing against someone without a star on their uniform.
"As OTAs and practices run on I'm just really looking forward to playing against someone else and getting out there on the field against someone else," Swaim said. "Scrimmages in camp against another team and preseason is what I look forward to."