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.