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Thursday, February 17, 2011
Position Series: Tight ends

By Tim MacMahon


Players: Jason Witten (signed through 2012), Martellus Bennett (signed through 2011), John Phillips (signed through 2012), Martin Rucker (signed through 2011), Jason Pociask (signed reserve/future contract)

Top free agents: Owen Daniels, Houston Texans; Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars; Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans; Randy McMichael, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Pope, Kansas City Chiefs

Martellus Bennett
The Cowboys are still waiting on Martellus Bennett to live up to his potential.
Top draft prospects: Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame; Luke Stocker, Tennessee; Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin; D.J. Williams, Arkansas; Weslye Saunders, South Carolina

2010 review: This was arguably the best season of perennial Pro Bowler Witten’s career. He led all NFL tight ends in catches (94) and yards (1,002) while scoring a career-high nine touchdowns despite playing with three starting quarterbacks. Bennett is a solid blocker who simply hasn’t come close to making the kind of impact in the passing game a man with his size and athleticism should. He had 33 catches -- only two shy of his total from the previous two seasons combined -- but he averaged only 7.9 yards per reception and didn’t score for the second straight year. Phillips was having a terrific training camp before suffering a season-ending knee injury during the preseason opener. Rucker spent most of the season on the practice squad, getting promoted to the 53-man roster when the Buffalo Bills tried to sign him in the first week of December. He did a decent job on special teams and caught two passes for 17 yards.

Offseason preview: The Cowboys can afford to stand pat at this position. At 28, Witten is still in his prime. If Phillips is fully recovered from his torn ACL, he ought to be able to challenge Bennett for playing time in two-tight end packages. Phillips could also be the solution to the Cowboys’ fullback problem. He did an excellent job blocking out of the backfield as a rookie.

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