The Dallas Cowboys have several openings on both sides of the ball for younger players to step in. Here’s how one could achieve star status in 2018.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently on hiatus, enjoying a nice long break before training camp kicks off in late July. Still, changes made this offseason leave the team with many unanswered questions to answer come camp.
One of the bigger unresolved issues on this team is at their tight end position. For years, stalwart veteran Jason Witten manned the starting tight end role in Dallas. In fact, several times the Cowboys attempted to groom his successor only to have that player crumble under the long, massive shadow that was Witten’s stellar 15-year career.
Although Witten’s Ironman quality to stay healthy benefited the team in the short term, he missed just one game during his entire NFL career, his constant presence didn’t leave much playing time for younger prospects. Therefore, following his retirement earlier this year, the Cowboys were left severely unprepared to replace him.
In fact, of the four tight ends currently on the roster, only one has actually played a snap during the regular season. That player being Geoff Swaim. But even his experience is extremely limited, having recorded a total of nine career receptions for 84 yards in three years.
The other tight end candidates to replace Witten include second-year Blake Jarwin, fourth round rookie selection Dalton Schultz and former Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers.
Of the four, it’s surprisingly Jarwin who one Cowboys insider is hearing could make a significant splash come the regular season.
"“The way that the coaching staff was using Blake Jarwin tells me that they’re expecting big things from him,” wrote football analyst Bryan Broaddus for DallasCowboys.com. “He has been splitting snaps with Geoff Swaim throughout these practices for the starting tight end spot, so he’s going to have a chance to grow.”"
Undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2017, Jarwin started his college career as a walk-on and eventually became a two-year starter for the Cowboys. The 6-foot-5, 260 pound Jarwin only flashed minimal potential as a receiver during his time in college, recording a total of 41 receptions for 616 yards and five touchdowns in three years.
But the Cowboys loved his upside so much as an rookie last season, they opted to promoted Jarwin to the active roster midseason (forcing the team to carry four tight ends) rather than lose him to another team off their practice squad.
Reports indicate Blake Jarwin did play with the first team offense through the Dallas Cowboys OTA’s and minicamp this offseason. With Jason Witten long gone, Jarwin has a rare opportunity to start in his second year in Dallas and could be a potential star in the making.