Cowboys surprise, pick TE Gavin Escobar

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
7:52
PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys could have added another nice piece to their offensive line in the second round of the NFL draft, as tackle Terron Armstead and guard Larry Warford were still on the board. But while they did draft offense, they went in a different direction, selecting San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar with the 15th pick in the round (47th overall).

The pick felt like a surprise for a team that has Jason Witten at tight end and needs help on both lines. But I like it. Escobar is not a blocking tight end and won't help in the run game, but he's known as a guy with great hands who can locate and catch the ball in traffic, and I think he projects as a red zone weapon for Tony Romo and the Cowboys' offense.

I don't think he's a luxury pick, either. Cowboys fans often gripe about the lack of a reliable No. 3 wide receiver (or sometimes a No. 2, when Miles Austin's hamstrings are barking), and Escobar can certainly serve as that in multiple-tight end sets. He's also an eventual replacement for Witten, who had another fine year in 2012 but is 31 years old.

The Cowboys just signed Romo to a long-term contract, and when teams invest heavily in their quarterbacks they tend to lean toward putting nice new weapons around him. You can argue that the priority should be protecting him better, but offensive linemen aren't flying off the board in the second round the way they did in the first, and the Cowboys have two picks in the third round later tonight with which to address that. And those who complained about Travis Frederick being an overdraft at No. 31 on Thursday can't argue with the value Escobar represents at this spot.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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