Saturday, April 28, 2012
James Hanna happy to be at home
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- James Hanna won’t have to travel far to get to the Cowboys’ rookie mini-camp next week. It’s just about a 20-minute ride from Flower Mound to Valley Ranch.
The Cowboys took the Oklahoma tight end in the sixth round Saturday, fulfilling a need pick with only Jason Witten and John Phillips on the 53-man roster.
“Honestly I didn’t know where I’d go and just coming to the Cowboys, it was an even better feeling than I thought it would be,” Hanna said. “It was real exciting.”
Hanna did not take part in the Cowboys’ Dallas Day workout because he was visiting Minnesota, but he met with the Cowboys at the NFL scouting combine. Hanna caught 52 passes for 720 yards and nine touchdowns in four years with the Sooners. He was a second-team All-Big 12 pick last year with 27 catches for 381 yards.
The Cowboys love to use multiple tight end sets and had only Jason Witten and John Phillips on the roster.
“He’s my role model,” Hanna said of Witten, a seven-time Pro Bowler. “I’ve grown up all through football since I’ve been playing a Cowboys fan and just watching him, he’s been there a long time. He’s a great player and I’m really looking forward to getting to learn from him.”
Hanna was timed at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash, incredibly fast for a tight end, but with players like Witten, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham and New England’s Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, tight ends are becoming downfield threats.
“There seems to be so many teams that really look to use tight ends, even multiple tight ends,” Hanna said, “and I couldn’t be happier with the time I’m in the league and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”