Cowboys: Escobar Ready To Justify 2nd Round Pick?

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Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar (89) dives for the end zone in the second quarter against Philadelphia Eagles safety Nate Allen (29) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

ROOKIE DEBUT

During a mild rookie year, Escobar contributed as most expected.  The opportunities weren’t many as the position was well stocked.  He showed flashes of capable NFL receiving talent and ability to get open.

With steady improvement he could be on track to a solid NFL career.  However, at the high cost of forfeiting a starting guard (Warford), Escobar must justify his draft value as immediate as 2014.

What limited Escobar’s playing time severely last season was simply being a huge liability blocking on the line.  A 2nd TE (when positioned in tight) must be able to block, since Witten is the primary receiving TE.

Escobar came in highly underdeveloped physically.  He was unable to get much blocking push at the line, often losing ground.  If the #2 TE is a deficient blocker, his value is certainly not worth a high draft pick.

Dallas has been without a solid blocking #2 TE since Martellus Bennett in 2011.  It’s no coincidence short-yardage and goal line power rushing have suffered ever since.

When a soft 2nd TE lines up in short yardage, the defense knows 2 things…1) The ball rarely will be run wide towards him.  2) He’s likely to release into a route.  Both cases provide the defense a pre-snap read advantage.

Escobar needs to eliminate that predictability with stronger point-of-attack blocking. Adding bulk and power throughout his long, lean frame was crucial this off-season.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys

  • David

    The thought that Dallas could have had a starting line of Smith, Warford, Frederick, Martin and Free makes me sick. Escobar better progress a lot this year. But unless he turns into a Pro Bowl player it will go down as another bad pick by the Cowboys in the early rounds when there was extreme value players in positions of need still available.

  • BradAustin

    David you are absolutely correct. Our OL would be simply mauling people like the old days with the line you mentioned. Regardless of how well Escobar can contribute as the #2 until Witten retires, there is no way to justify the pick. Maybe years later if he becomes the #1 and is a serious receiving threat. But even then, we had years to find someone to be the successor to Witten. He wasn’t even close to losing his magic at TE.

    What makes it much worse is Hannah showed real promise as a rookie in the #2 role. He wasn’t given much opportunity and still produced well for a rookie. The TE coach just the other day made a statement saying this Hannah guy has something. Well great, you’re now praising the #3 TE. What good does that do us?

    To me it will always go down as an absurd selection. Our guard situation was in complete disarray at that moment. If not for Leary stepping up, it would have been ugly at the position last season.

    Even if Witten and Escobar are very formidable as a pair next season, I’ll still always know the potential OL Jerry cost us would be even more valuable. Behind those beasts Murray would pound the ball for chunks of yards and a much higher average than he will now. That has far more benefits an overall offense than a formidable #2TE can produce….with exception to the Patriots. And Witten/Escobar are light years from the same size/speed combo Gronk/Hernandez played with.

  • Greg Hill

    Thanks Brad, very insightful, informative and true. I look forward to your next article.