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Name To Know: Opportunity For Rookie TE McKeon


(Editor's Note: With training camp finally beginning, there are countless names that will shape the way this Cowboys season plays out. On a team with this much star power, some of those names are better known than others. This series seeks to identify some of the unheralded members of the Cowboys' roster, highlighting how they might make the team and have an impact on the 2020 season.)

  • Who Is He? TE Sean McKeon
  • How Did He Get Here? McKeon is one of dozens of rookies who can thank the COVID-19 pandemic for affecting his draft stock. The Michigan senior was limited at the NFL Combine by a hamstring injury, and the Wolverines' official Pro Day was canceled by the outbreak of coronavirus. Considered a Day 3 prospect by many, McKeon instead fell to the ranks of the undrafted.

The Cowboys considered making McKeon their final pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. With Jason Witten departing for Las Vegas, they needed to add depth behind Blake Jarwin. Ultimately, they opted to select quarterback Ben DiNucci – but as luck would have it, McKeon was available to sign after the draft.

  • Career Highlight: Obviously, McKeon has yet to run a route or catch a pass for the Cowboys, but he was a three-year starter for one of the most prestigious programs in college football.

Like many college tight ends, McKeon didn't exactly put up prolific numbers at Michigan. He split time during his junior and senior seasons and caught just 27 total passes over the last two years.

Back in 2017, though, he was an All-Big Ten selection after catching 31 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns. The most productive game of his career came in a 28-10 win at Purdue, where he caught five passes for 82 yards to help the Wolverines pull away in the second half.

  • How Does He Make It: With the exception of Blake Jarwin, there aren't many guarantees with this tight end group.

Blake Bell seems likely to make the team, but he's also only under contract for one year. Dalton Schultz is halfway through his rookie contract and has 13 career catches – including just one last year.

It's possible that a rookie could crack a three-man depth chart. And if the Cowboys decide to keep four tight ends during Mike McCarthy's first year as head coach, it's downright easy to imagine McKeon earning a roster spot.

  • How He Can Help: It will be interesting to see how McCarthy handles this position.

Losing Witten removes any sense of certainty, given that he was a virtual certainty to play the majority of the snaps. Without that constant, we could see as many as three or four different tight ends playing a role.

Obviously, Jarwin figures to play the most snaps and see the most targets in the passing game. Bell is a savvy veteran who can help in multiple-tight end sets.

It's unlikely that McKeon's role would be huge in Year 1. But if he proves he's worth a roster spot, he'd likely see spot duty with an eye on developing for the future. If that doesn't work out, the practice squad is also a plausible destination.

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