The Cowboys are looking for a replacement for free agent departed Martellus Bennett, and may have found value in the 6th round selecting Oklahoma Sooners James Hanna. Hanna will come to the Cowboys as more of a pass catching tight end rather than a blocker, the skills that Bennett portrayed.
Hanna, 6′-4″ 252 lbs. will most likely will become the #3 tight end, playing behind Pro Bowler Jason Witten, and John Phillips, whom will most likely take over the blocking role.
Hanna is a thick tight end who is much more of a crafty receiving threat than he is a blocker, and has been consistent throughout his two years as a starter at Oklahoma. He is a good catcher and can adjust well to poorly thrown balls, even with a man draped over him. Hanna is a straight-line runner who isn’t very good at maneuvering in his routes, but his speed is deceptive and he just possesses the “it” factor when it comes to making a catch at the top of his routes. He is a limited prospect who could be taken in the late rounds of the draft, but will come in, compete and potentially make a team based off his willingness to play special teams and ability as a pass-catching tight end. He only had two catches for 18 yards against Iowa in the Insight Bowl, which wasn’t far off his average and about what type of player he is: Reliable to make a few tough catches, but not going to have any sort of “Rob Gronkowski-type production” from the position anytime soon.
STRENGTHS Hanna can catch the ball when it is thrown in his area. He is athletic, and can maneuver his body at full speed to reach around or over a defender to make a catch. He is an aware player who is reliable to pick up a first town. He has a torso that is tight and can be spun around to make a catch, then turn and run using his big body to roll over safeties. He understands how to run good routes. Actually running them at the next level will be a whole new story, however.
WEAKNESSES Hanna is not a very fast player and isn’t athletic off the ball. He struggles when mauled at the line and that will be the scouting report on him at the next level: Get a bigger linebacker to disrupt his route early and prevent him from ever getting into space. He is good to catch a contested ball, but he isn’t tough across the middle — there were many times during the 2011 season when an oncoming safety gave him “alligator arms” and he was caught ducking under balls to avoid the hit. He is better when a guy is running with him in man coverage and he doesn’t have to worry about a big blow, but the fact that he doesn’t display toughness down field or when working as a blocker on the line makes him a limited prospect overall.
The Cowboys still have one more pick coming up in the 7th round ( 222nd overall ).