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Second Round Pick Escobar Ready For Transition To Dallas


IRVING, Texas – Gavin Escobar laughed ruefully, not exactly eager to answer the question presented to him.

Did you like the Cowboys growing up?

"I grew up in New York and I came out to California, so I wasn't necessarily a Cowboys fan. But I enjoyed watching them," said Escobar, the San Diego State tight end selected with Dallas' second round pick.

That answer wasn't quite good enough, though. Pressed harder for his favorite team, Escobar finally spilled the beans.

"I was a Giants fan. Not anymore, though," he said with a laugh. "It might be tough for my brother [to change allegiances], but I'm sure he'll be rooting for the Cowboys."

Cowboys fans can breathe a sigh of relief with that bit of business out of the way. Now there's another small matter to consider: how best to use Escobar, who joins the roster as the Cowboys' fifth tight end and one with a similar skill set to All-Pro starter Jason Witten.

"They're telling me it's going to be great for me to be behind Jason Witten – he's one of the best tight ends in this game," Escobar said. "They're also changing the way they use tight ends, and they want to use me in different ways."

The selection of Escobar, who is listed at 6-5, 254 pounds, to couple with Witten conjures up visions of the Patriots' dual-tight end system of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who regularly terrify NFL defenses.  The Cowboys have had similar situations with the likes of Martellus Bennett and Anthony Fasano and failed to capitalize to the fullest extent.

Of course, plenty will be quick to point to out Escobar's history as a two-year letterman in high school basketball – a link to tight end phenoms like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates.

Escobar, for his part, will wait to figure that out when he reaches Dallas.

"I was only on the phone for a few minutes, but we'll find out soon," he said. "I'm really excited to be a complete tight end like Jason Witten."

To get to that point, Escobar will have some work to do. In three seasons for San Diego State, he racked up 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns as a receiving tight end. One criticism levied at Escobar to this point is his development, or lack thereof, as a run blocker. The former standout from Rancho Santa Margarita High School said he intends to get to work on just that issue.

"Right now I need to work at just getting bigger and working on the run game more, because that's something I need to really excel on to be a complete tight end – a three down tight end," he said.

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