Fourth in a series breaking down the Cowboys by position (previous entries):
Good bets: None
On the bubble: Scott Sicko
Long shots: Kevin Brock
Jason Witten is one of the best mismatch players in the NFL. He can play anywhere in the offense -- inline, flexed, backfield, out wide -- and is the one player that defensive coordinators most have to worry about when game-planning for the Cowboys because of his ability to make plays from all these spots. I’d like to see him get more opportunities in the red zone. He’s the most reliable target on the team. The quarterback will go to him at any point in a drive. He’s not a trained killer as a blocker, but he’s strong enough to get push at the point and athletic enough to hook his guy. He’s dependable. He’s a top-five tight end without a doubt, the best in this division.
Martellus Bennett is a heartbreaker. You see talent and ability, and it doesn’t always translate onto the field. He can be a good blocker at the point because of his size and athleticism, but he doesn’t always do it. He should be more of a factor in the two-tight end packages, but he needs to be more reliable in his assignments. After watching training camp last year, I thought he would be a huge factor in this offense, but he was a major disappointment. He’s a big man that can really run. His agility is very good, his hands can be very good, but he’s just not dependable. He could be a dominant player if all factors come together.
John Phillips was one of the best surprises of the offense last year, other than Miles Austin. He’s become a jack-of-all-trades player. He can line up all over the field and is productive in his roles. The more they played him, the better he got. Good blocker, good toughness, good ability with the ball in his hands. He’s a little stiff, not the best athlete, but he works well with what he has. He’s always going to give you his best effort. The Cowboys can count on him in several roles.
I don’t know much about Sicko. I need to see him play. How is he going to play in pads? Moving around, he looks fine, but I’m interested to see him as a blocker. Can he do some of the things Phillips does? These tight ends are asked to play a lot of roles. Can he fill those roles? That’s going to determine whether or not he makes this team.