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Cowboys News & Notes: Can Rico Gathers Become The Next Star Tight End?

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Rico Gathers impresses; which second-year Cowboys player will break out?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of fans are intrigued by the selection of Rico Suave, but just what kind of chances does this kid actually have?

Cowboys Rookie Profile: Rico Gathers - Matt Urban, Cover32
There is no denying the kid's athleticism, but whether or not he's successful in this league will come down to his ability to learn the fundamentals of the TE position. If he does, though - it's going to be exciting...sorta like when Happy Gilmore learned to putt.

Gathers, despite being the size of an offensive lineman, has great agility and decent speed. He ran a 4.75 40-yard-dash, which is about average for an NFL tight end. His size is far from average, making his potential great if he can learn the mental aspect of the game.

Former Scout impressed by this Cowboys sixth round rookie - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
So what are the Cowboys up against when it comes to the development of Rico Gathers? Bryan Broaddus is pleasantly surprised by the rookie's progress.

"Because I didn’t expect a whole heck of a lot from him coming from the Basketball court to the football field. I thought it was something that was going to be a challenge for him…[He] played in a right-handed stance, played in a left-handed stance, ability to get up the field, looked really comfortable adjusting to footballs. So, give me Rico Gathers for someone who hadn’t play a lot of football he looked pretty comfortable with what he was doing."

Transition from hardwood to hard hits won’t be easy one for Cowboys Rico Gathers - Khari Murphy, Cowboys Wire
While the similarities with these former basketball players/TE stars are there, the amount of football experience still is a significant difference between them. Khari Murphy from the Cowboys Wire explains.

The only thing Gathers has in common with the aforementioned names is basketball. In fact, that gap between playing on the gridiron is much farther than believed. Going down the list, Tony Gonzalez played both basketball and football during his days at college, Antonio Gates played football through high school and was originally going to attend Michigan State to play football before transferring to myriad of schools only to end up playing basketball at Kent State and Jimmy Graham played a year of college football at Miami while playing basketball.

Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to taking risks - Andrew Tobolowsky, WFAA.com
Selecting Rico Gathers is certainly a dice roll, but it's the type of move that the Cowboys are accustomed to making.

But the signs were there because one thing has always been true about the Cowboys’ front office: they don’t only take risks, they love risks. They love risks more than you love your mother or infant child. If there’s a guy who’s good, who no one else would take, you might as well paint a star on them right now.

Jason Witten: We’re more motivated now than we’ve ever been before - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Witten is excited about what lies ahead this season, but what does he think about the Cowboys new rookie tight end?

On Rico Gathers making transition from basketball to football: "We’ve seen guys make that transition and have success doing that. [The Cowboys] obviously saw something they liked and think they can build around, and I respect a guy who is trying to do that. It’s not easy to make that transition."

Dallas Cowboys: How 2015 Draft Class Looks Now - Brady Lunt, NFL Mocks
While the new draft class will draw all the attention, it should be interesting to see how some of the players from last year's draft class perform. What kind of roles will these second-year players have heading into this season?

While [Byron] Jones failed to record an interception during his rookie season, his impact on the field was undeniable. Jones played a variety of positions in multiple packages and seemed to thrive, regardless of his experience. His versatility was on full display at both cornerback and safety, which bodes well for the future of the Cowboys secondary.

Are Deji Olatoye and Terrance Mitchell assets in Cowboys secondary? - Zeke Barrera, Cowboys Wire
While Byron Jones helps solidify the safety postion, the Cowboys still have questions at cornerback.

The Cowboys tried hard to bring in a free agent cornerback this offseason. Their intentions were very clear, in that they viewed the cornerback position as an area that needed to be upgraded from outside the organization. Dallas brought CBs Patrick Robinson, Leon Hall, and Nolan Carroll all in for visits at Valley Ranch, and all three left without deals.

Despite coming up empty in free agency, a lot of fans expected to hear Jalen Ramsey's name called in the draft. Instead, the Cowboys waited until round six before drafting Anthony Brown from Purdue. He will join Olatoye and Mitchell as guys fighting for a roster spot. Could these former practice squad guys sneak on the team? After all, they have a 2015 accomplishment unmatched by any other Cowboys corner.

The only 2 interceptions recorded by Dallas Cowboy cornerbacks last year were made by 2 practice squad journeymen who did not join the roster until Weeks 13 and 15 respectively.

The two biggest goals of the Cowboys' offseason, and their biggest threat in the NFC East - Jon Machota, SportsDay
New York spent a lot of money in free agency, Washington's GM, Scot McCloughan is making all the right moves and has his team on the rise, and Philadelphia just remodeled their Chip Kelly-less team and went "all-in" on acquiring QB, Carson Wentz. So which of these teams will pose the biggest threat to the Cowboys? Jon Machota shares his thoughts.

Who are the Cowboys biggest challengers in the NFC East? Machota: Washington is the defending champ so I have to say the Redskins, but I think the Giants will actually be the bigger threat. I'm sticking with recent history, and since no one seems to be able to win this division in consecutive seasons, I say it comes down to New York and Dallas. Philadelphia just isn't on the same level as the other three right now.

2016 NFL Draft class power rankings - Jim Reineking, NFL.com
The New York Giants finished 12th and The Washington Redskins were 14th. Despite the Cowboys not receiving any points for their second-round selection, they still almost hauled in as many points as the Giants and Redskins.

15. Dallas Cowboys Score: 165 points (3 players)

The lowdown: Elliott joins the Cowboys with a heaping helping of hefty expectations. His fit in Dallas might be the most ideal of any player selected in the 2016 draft. Speaking of ideal situations, Prescott -- a fourth-round pick -- can take time to learn the ways of an NFL offense behind one of the game's best quarterbacks, Tony Romo. The players (points):

No. 3: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (98)

No. 54: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (47)

No. 81: Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (20)

The Philadelphia Eagles finished 27th with Carson Wentz accounting for 85% of their total points. They also didn't get receive any points for their second-round pick...because they didn't have one.

2016 Breakout Candidates: Brice Butler - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star
Fans are anxious to see what many players on the defensive side will bring, but there is one player on offense that could surprise some people.

Butler's speed and vertical threat would seem to fit well with Dallas' existing weapons. Dez Bryant will draw extra attention anywhere on the field. Jason Witten and Cole Beasley are dangerous short and mid-range weapons. Newly-added Ezekiel Elliott and Lance Dunbar are pass-catching options out of the backfield. Butler stretching the defense on deep routes only opens up more windows underneath for Romo to exploit.