In this series, we’re going to go through all the needs the Cowboys currently have and find the candidates in the 2018 NFL Draft that fit the bill. So far on offense, we’ve been through linemen and receivers but what about tight ends?
The Cowboys have a legendary future Hall of Famer that doesn’t seem to be retiring anytime soon but his day will eventually come. Now, this still isn’t a huge need as the Cowboys do like their group behind Jason Witten with James Hanna, Geoff Swaim, and the enigma Rico Gathers. If the Cowboys do look for an addition, it’s likely to be a mid-round consideration.
Ian Thomas, 6’3, 256 lbs, Indiana (Brugler: 96th, 4th TE)
He’s very well built for the position and is a very fluid athlete. His hands are smooth and he’s got good speed. His burst is pretty solid and he’s not an easy guy to bring down. He does need to polish up his routes and needs to prove he can make more plays after the catch. Thomas is a self-motivated guy that is a solid run and downfield blocker. He’s got the traits and athleticism to become a quality tight end in the NFL.
Where you get him: Third round
Mike Gesicki, 6’5, 242 lbs, Penn State (Brugler: 114th, 5th TE)
Gesicki is one of the best athletes in his class with very smooth movements, he can catch the ball at it’s highest point. He’s got great hands, a lengthy tapered frame, and is by far the best route runner in the tight end group. What he lacks in functional strength and he’s more of a pass-catcher that doesn’t have the makeup of a good blocking tight end. He’s still got a high ceiling but will need to work on becoming a more complete product.
Where you get him: Fourth round
Christopher Herndon, 6’4, 252 lbs, Miami (Brugler: 155th, 8th TE)
Herndon is a tight end with great versatility and could do just about anything you ask of him. He’s a mismatch target that will surely have some value but he’s going to be this year’s Jake Butt. Herndon hasn’t been able to stay healthy and an MCL injury has robbed him of his original draft value which could have been much higher. He gets favorable comparisons to Evan Engram and can make plays all over the field, though he does need some work in disguising his assignments better but he’s an incredible talent, when healthy.
Where you get him: Fifth round
Adam Breneman, 6’4, 252 lbs, UMASS (Brugler: 200th, 11th TE)
Breneman is a pretty solid route runner with long limbs that make him an asset in the passing game. He’s a guy that just seems to always find that soft spot and has incredibly reliable hands. His catch radius is large but he doesn’t offer that much in terms of blocking and he can be late off the snap quite a bit. Breneman also had two surgeries to repair both knees and one was an ACL in 2012. The other was a bone bruise that forced him to temporarily retire for the 2014 season. His medical evaluations will be key into where he goes this April.
Where you get him: Sixth round
David Wells, 6’5, 252 lbs, San Diego State (Brugler: 267th, 15th TE)
Here’s the upside pick all the way as Wells made a steady climb in his collegiate career from bottom of the roster to TE2, to usurping the current TE1, forcing him to move to tackle. He’s a tall, big-bodied athlete that pretty much catches anything thrown his way. Wells made his impact first as a blocker and once he mastered that he moved up the depth chart. He’s still a bit raw and doesn’t have amazing production as he took over TE1 toward the end of 2017. Still, there’s potential for this kid to hone his craft and at least see the field as an extra blocker in his rookie season.
Where you get him: Seventh round or UDFA