- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- The commonly held perception is that a player makes his biggest jump in the NFL between his rookie season and second year.
To read the full story, you need to be an Insider, but here's what he said about Escobar:
Nine catches for Escobar probably wasn't the production the Cowboys had in mind for him as a rookie second-rounder, but there's plenty of reason for optimism. Some scouts believed Escobar had a ceiling as a pass-catcher that came close to Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, and that's something Dallas will work to tap into in 2014. Escobar is still clearly a reserve to Jason Witten and must improve as a blocker, but his length and catch radius project to increased development with a full offseason at his disposal.
The Cowboys made a surprise move in picking Escobar in the second round in 2013. He was the third second-round tight end the Cowboys picked since 2006, joining Anthony Fasano and Martellus Bennett. They found more success after leaving the Cowboys. Escobar is in Witten's shadow, but he should be given more chances in 2014.
New tight ends coach Mike Pope, who has developed a number of tight ends for the better part of three decades, told Jason Garrett the Giants had Escobar in a similar spot on their draft board.
"When you have a new coach come in from a different team, I'm always interested in hearing what they thought of a player when they were coming out," Garrett said. "Was our evaluation similar to their evaluation? What round did they have him in? It's always fun to get that impression and then get that impression from afar and the impression from up close when he gets a chance to meet with him and work with him.
"I think he sees probably a lot of the same things we see: a very talented, pass-catching tight end. He has to grow and get stronger as a blocker but he has a lot of skills we want to work with."
Garrett said Escobar has gotten stronger in the offseason, "but it's not something that happens overnight." His playing time figures to grow if the Cowboys are more married to the two-tight end personnel in which Escobar works essentially as a wide receiver working the slot.
If he does, then Yates' prediction could come true.