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2013 NFL Draft Results: Q&A On Cowboys' Gavin Escobar With Mountain West Connection

To find out a little more for those who might not be familiar with him, I reached out to one of our sister blogs and asked some questions about Dallas' new tight end.


Jeremy Mauss is the manager for Mountian West Connection, which covers the San Diego State University Aztecs. He was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions from the FPW about the Dallas Cowboys' second round pick, Gavin Escobar.

He also provided some background on himself.

Lifelong Cowboys fan who picked them over the Oilers back in the day despite living in Houston, but also like the Texans (please don't hate me). My opinions here about Gavin Escobar are hopefully not swayed too much in me really liking this pick.

As for how I am familiar with Escobar, I am obsessed with college football and also manage Mountain West Connection here on SB Nation, so I have seen my fair share of Aztecs games.

1. Gavin Escobar was a bit under the radar for most of us at Blogging the Boys. Could you give us your take on his college career and how the SDSU Aztecs used him?

During his time at San Diego State, and especially during his final two years, he was the team's most consistent pass catcher on the team. The Aztecs used three different quarterbacks over the past two years. He was catching passes from Ryan Lindley in 2011, now with the Arizona Cardinals, and then a pair of others this past year.

Those changes did not really provide a change in production for Escobar as he did dip from 51 to 42 receptions, but his per game average was still above three. The Aztecs used him primarily as an additional wide receiver as he rarely played in a three-point stance, and was typically in the slot. He would sometimes play a traditional tight end spot in running situations on the line but his effectiveness on that front needs work.

He was quite effective in beating defenders downfield and would routinely go down the seam and catch the deep ball. He also was definitely not a last resort or safety valve for the quarterback. He averaged 12.9 yards per catch and led the team in touchdowns with six. He was somewhat forced into being the main target in 2012 due to attrition at the wide receiver spot, but he handled being the main offensive target just fine.

2. One thing that has become a trademark of Jason Garrett's tenure is the preference for what is referred to as the RKG, or Right Kind of Guy. We interpret that as players with leadership, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to the team and the game, and secondarily as people who try to stay away from off field issues. How do you see Escobar in that light?

During his time at San Diego State he never got into any kind of trouble with the law or had any issues with academics. From all indications he is a stand up guy with no issues away from the football field.

3. Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones have both talked about how the team is hoping to use Escobar to go to more two and three tight end sets. The seem to be wanting to model the offense more on what the New England Patriots are doing. How do you see Escobar fitting in that role?

Escobar can definitely fit that type of role for the Cowboys and be similar to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Basically, don't ask Escobar to line up as a de facto offensive lineman on a short yardage play. Sticking Escobar on a linebacker or safety is not fair due to his speed and size. He is as big if not bigger than linebackers and faster, plus that speed helps him get past the secondary. This type of role is exactly where Escobar could shine, and early too, for Dallas.

4. In addition to becoming an immediate factor in multiple TE sets, it is likely that Escobar is going to be a candidate to eventually replace Jason Witten when his illustrious career draws to a close. Witten has long been Tony Romo's security blanket as well as a potent offensive weapon and possession receiver. What are your thoughts on Escobar as the possible featured tight end of the future for the Cowboys?

Those are gigantic shoes to fill, but his style is there to keep the Cowboys tradition of great tight ends alive. After thinking about how the two play, it would make sense that Escobar can be the next great Cowboy tight end. The two have fairly similar styles of play, although I would say that Witten is more physical than Escobar. With Witten still likely having a few more good years left in him, there should be time to groom Escobar to eventually take over that spot. Also, Escobar has been the featured receiving target in college the past few years so it would not be something he would not be used to.

5. What NFL TE you would use for a comparison to illustrate Escobar's skill set?

Escobar played basketball in high school so some might bring out the Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates comparisons. Perhaps for athleticism they would be a good description. As for an on the field comparison it has been mentioned that Escobar reminds people of Jacob Tamme of the Denver Broncos or even Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots.

6. Our fans are having some debate about whether he was a mid-second round talent or not. How do you grade him as a pick?

Draft grades depend a lot on team needs and while the Cowboys didn't really need a tight end, this is a good pick if they are planning on going to an offense that uses multiple tight ends as receiving threats. Escobar is better than last year's pick of tight end James Hanna, and can do more. With that being the plan then I would say this was a good pick and would give the pick a B-.

The Cowboys definitely would not have been able to get him with their third round pick, but if they had the chance they might have been able to trade down a few spots and still get Escobar. Regardless, this was not a reach but a solid pick, plus most draft rankings had Escobar around the 50th overall range.

7. When does he finish classes up? We had the issue last year with Matt Johnson missing time because he was on a trimester system.

San Diego State is on the regular semester format and finals are finished on May 16.

Thanks to Jeremy for the information. Hope this answers some of your questions about this addition to the Cowboys.


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