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Cowboys Have Major Void At Tight End

Rico Gathers and Andy Jones

The Dallas Cowboys are about to be finished with their OTAs and after mandatory minicamp next week, then we’ll next see them in action in training camp. While the offseason always seems to fly by, the Cowboys might be glad to have this one over with.

Unlike last year, there is no suspension or uncertainty hanging over their heads with Ezekiel Elliott. That makes for a much more comfortable offseason.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we should wonder about with this team. They’ve had a good offseason, but there still remains a gaping hole at tight end after Jason Witten’s abrupt retirement. There are four players who will have their shot at taking over for the legend, but it seems unlikely any of them are as good as Witten was last year. It doesn’t mean they won’t be successful, but it does mean they’ll need to find someone to step up their game.

In total, the group only has nine career catches, all belonging to Geoff Swaim, and zero touchdowns.

Swaim is the logical name that first comes to mind, he’s been in Dallas the longest and they like his ability as a blocker. He is a decent receiver, but he doesn’t appear to be a threat in the passing game. Swaim has a role and will play, but the Cowboys probably need more production as a receiver.

Blake Jarwin might have the most hype right now, the word is the team really believes in his potential. Cowboys’ Vice President Will McClay continues to talk up Jarwin and the team’s resident scout, Bryan Broaddus, has also mentioned the second-year tight end as someone to watch out for. We haven’t seen Jarwin in much game action, but he could be the sleeper in the equation.

If it were up to the fans and twitter scouts, Rico Gathers would be the choice to take over Witten’s place as the top tight end. Gathers brings the skill set and the potential to be a big-time player, but he hasn’t bought into the finer points of the position. As an athletic freak, Gathers has the ability to dominate in the red zone and work the seams, a necessity in today’s NFL, he just needs the focus. If Gathers could put it all together, he would be the ideal candidate, but Cowboys’ decision-makers don’t appear as enthralled with him as his skills would suggest.

The Cowboys also drafted Dalton Schultz to help fill the void of losing Witten. The rookie wasn’t used much in college, catching just 55 passes in three seasons, but Stanford employs a run-oriented heavy offense like Dallas. Time in the weight room will do wonders for Schultz, who might need a year or two to develop into a starting caliber tight end.

Throw them all together and the Cowboys have one heck of a player, but that’s not how this works. For the first time in 15 years, the Cowboys need to find an answer at tight end. Right now there is no designated starter, no stud or sure thing who can torture defenses in the middle of the field consistently.

Tight end is the biggest hole on the roster for the Dallas Cowboys and we’ll have to see what happens this summer. Someone will win the job.

Jason Witten spoiled the Cowboys for 15 years, now it’s time to move on, the question is, with who?

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst at SportsTalkLine
Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst on ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Let's talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi