- Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter
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Constructing a 53-man roster is a difficult process, piecing together 10 positions groups and matching up present needs with future production of older and younger players. This week we take a look at constructing the Dallas Cowboys' roster.
Locks: Witten, Escobar
Virtual lock: Hanna
Need help: Najvar
How many fit? The Cowboys have carried four tight ends in the past, doing it last year with Andre Smith serving as the fourth, and they could do it again this year if they find the right fit from a player not currently on the roster.
As of today, they would go with three: Witten, Escobar and Hanna. Witten's catches were down last year (73 from 110), but his touchdowns were up (eight from three). He still remains a threat in the passing game and a focal point of defenses. Escobar will get more chances to prove he can be a factor this year. Hanna came to the Cowboys known for his speed but they have yet to put him in position to use it, serving mostly as the second tight end last year.
The Cowboys have a need for a blocking tight end that would take some of the load off of Witten. That's not Escobar's forte and that's not Hanna's strength. They had the blocker they needed in Smith last year, but he barely saw the field before he was released. They need a Dan Campbell or Sean Ryan type in order to be able to move Witten off the line in situations to keep the playbook open.
If they add another tight end, then that would put an end having a fullback on the roster. There just aren't enough snaps to carry a fourth tight end or fullback to justify carrying both spots. The tiebreaker would be who can play special teams better.
Constructing a 53-man roster is a difficult process, piecing together 10 positions groups and matching up present needs with future production of older and younger players.