Even though the Dallas Cowboys invested a sixth-round draft pick last year in James Hanna and have Jason Witten, the team decided to spend another draft pick on the tight end position. The 47th overall pick didn't bring a safety, defensive lineman, linebacker or safety. That pick was used to bring Tony Romo another weapon, and you know Romo has to be confident that his franchise is now spending more resources to build around him.
Now I can't say this was the direction I would have gone with this pick, but we can come away knowing that Escobar is a really talented tight end who can stretch the field. While Jason Witten has been a force in Dallas for majority of his career, there will come a time when he will begin to deteriorate. Last year in the pre-season we saw Witten suffer a serious spleen injury and he didn't look like the same player. Eventually Witten got rolling and led the team with 110 receptions, but he wasn't the same threat he used to be.
Our close friend JimmyK recently wrote an article on how Witten wasn't as dangerous as he used to be. Please read the entire article to get a better understanding of what JimmyK is pointing out and it's some pretty sobering numbers. At the end of his article, he came to this conclusion.
There’s something to be said for a TE who can be a safety valve for his QB and move the chains, but that’s what defenses like the Giants can live with. If he’s not stretching the field any longer or scoring TDs when the Cowboys get down into the red zone, does anybody really fear Jason Witten anymore?
The selection of Escobar clearly doesn't end the run of Witten in Dallas, but it does show us that the Cowboys wanted to continue getting better on the offensive side of the football and have another weapon at tight end who can stretch the field. Maybe they believe that adding Escobar gives them another player who can put some fear into the opposition.
The Cowboys now have an interesting trio at tight end. Witten can still play at a high level, Hanna is a versatile weapon who may be lined up more as a wide receiver and Escobar is another big body who can become a mismatch problem and stretch the defense.
Jeremy Mauss of the Mountain West Connection has a profile on Escobar and immediately this stood out.
Escobar created mismatches for linebackers who were responsible for covering the 6-foot-6 tight end, and NFL teams definitely want a player like Escobar who can lineup as a wide receiver or tight end and create an advantage in their passing game.
During the post-draft presser, Jerry Jones outright said that Dallas' offense will change to integrate Escobar, using 13 personnel to get all three tight ends on the field. He also indicated that Escobar already has a leg up on Hanna on the depth chart.
Jason Garrett has to become creative and learn how to employ this unique personnel grouping. The New England Patriots basically started this new tight end trend that is sweeping the NFL back in 2010 when they drafted both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots successfully scouted and then acquired the talent, but they also incorporated and found a way for both tight ends to become a staple of their entire offensive scheme.
This pick wasn't an ideal selection because tight end wasn't a need. I didn't even have Escobar on my board because I had no idea the Cowboys had interest in adding another tight end, but Dallas just drafted one of the most gifted tight ends in the entire draft. Escobar immediately brings ball skills and a tremendous set of hands. Tony Romo is going to love seeing this kid on the field, but the Cowboys need to get him involved early on and find unique ways to utilize his talent.
Help is coming for Romo, now it's time for Garrett to cook up the plays and utilize the personnel. Take a look at this first video, followed by his highlight reel, and envision him when he's not the defenses prime consideration.