Sunday, September 1, 2013
Cowboys' Gavin Escobar sits and waits
By Calvin Watkins
There was plenty of discussion about what the Cowboys did with their first two picks of the NFL draft in the spring.
The Cowboys moved down (18 to 31) to select center/guard Travis Frederick in the first round.
In the second round, the Cowboys snagged tight end Gavin Escobar (47th overall).
Frederick will start opening night at AT&T Stadium when the Cowboys host the New York Giants.
He won't start.
He's not in the first two tight end-set pairings.
He sits and waits.
Escobar is a talented pass-catcher, though in the final preseason game he failed to get his feet in bounds while trying to haul in a touchdown pass. He's long and lean at 6-foot-6, 249 pounds, and his slim frame along with his poor techniques doesn't make him a good blocker. He lost weight during training camp which sapped his strength. For now, James Hanna is with Jason Witten during two-end sets with the first-team offense.
Escobar will get his time with quarterback Tony Romo, but he's still developing a skill at blocking blitzing linebackers and chipping defensive ends in 4-3 schemes, and while he's still learning he will remain behind Witten and Hanna on the depth chart.
It makes you wonder why the Cowboys drafted Escobar anyway, given how the team had a second-round grade on Frederick and could have gotten him anyway without a trade. Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert was considered the best tight end in the draft and available for the Cowboys in the first round.
Dallas moved down in a trade with San Francisco to get Frederick and the Cincinnati Bengals snagged Eifert in the first round (21st overall).
Escobar most likely will be compared to what Eifert does, who missed the last two preseason games with a wrist injury, and that's fine by him because he's got to concentrate on his own game.
"My techniques have gotten a lot better," Escobar said. "I've learned a lot from [tight end] coach [Wes] Philips and all the coaches, really. My techniques have gotten better and I need to improve, using my hands and trying to stay lower [when he blocks]."