FRISCO, Texas - The last stretch of the offseason is upon us. The next time the Cowboys get together, it will be time for training camp.
The roster is nearly full and that should mean a healthy dose of competition – at all positions. In the coming weeks, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will focus on each position to find the most intriguing battles as we get ready for training camp. Today, we continue the series with tight end.
Battle To Watch:
This one is easy as the Cowboys still need to figure out the starting tight end for this team, something they haven’t had to worry about in 15 years. But Jason Witten’s retirement has clearly opened the door for at least one player, if not two or three. The leader in the clubhouse following OTAs and minicamp is Geoff Swaim, but Blake Jarwin isn’t too far behind. While Witten didn’t leave the field too often, there will be more chances for two tight ends to play together than ever before. So the winner of this competition might not be as critical as it has been in previous seasons. Still, it’s a battle for playing time and while Swaim should have the early lead, based mostly on experience, Jarwin gives the Cowboys more size in the blocking game and that could help him eventually take the job.
Don’t Forget About:
The Cowboys don’t spend fourth-round picks on just anyone. Dalton Schultz will likely factor himself into the equation here as well. Maybe he’s not ready to win the job right now, but the Cowboys obviously like some of his traits enough to spend a relatively high pick on him. Right now, he’s got to pick up the offense and become a friendly target for Dak Prescott, who just so happened to be a fourth-round pick as well.
The time is now for Rico Gathers to make a move. He’s been a developmental player for the first two years and showed some real promise last preseason with a couple of touchdown catches. But an injury in camp ultimately ended his season. Now, as Gathers enters his third year with the club, he has to have another good camp and preseason, which would likely force the Cowboys into a tough decision. Either put him on the 53-man roster or risk trying to put him on the practice squad, allowing another team to grab him. It will be an interesting few weeks in Oxnard for Gathers.
Dalton Schultz - Blake Jarwin - Geoff Swaim