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Cowboys 2018 draft: Why Dallas picked Dalton Schultz in the fourth round

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With the possible Jason Witten retirement, the Cowboys needed a tight end.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So how were the Cowboys compensated for losing Ron Leary in free agency? With their compensatory pick, 137th overall, the Cowboys selected tight end Dalton Schultz from Stanford. With the news of the possible retirement of Jason Witten, it was believed that tight end could be a pressing need for the team. However, the Cowboys stayed patient, trusting their board as they landed great player after great player. But at the end of the fourth round, they felt the time was right to pull the trigger on a tight end.

Schultz is a feisty blocker as he looks to engage opponents and use his feet to move them aside. He positions his body well to seal off running lanes and has good balance to be useful in pass protection. The team’s requirement of being a strong inline blocker is met with a player like Schultz.

Like Witten, he won’t wow you with speed, but has a smooth release and can hit his top speed quickly. Schultz isn’t a superior athlete, but he moves fluidly in the open field.

He only has 55 catches in his college career. He wasn’t a big threat in the team’s passing game, but his job was to block. When he did catch passes, it was usually of the short and intermediate style so he can be an emergency valve for quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s a smart player that understands how to break out of routes. He has good hands as he’s a natural pass catcher. Schultz catches the ball away from his body and demonstrates a good catch radius. He doesn’t go down easy and his physical play can claw out extra yardage needed for a first down.

He has a fighter mentality that can be effective as a blocker and a pass-catcher. Check out his highlights:

A couple months ago, we suggested three players who could be a possible replacement for Jason Witten.

Dalton Schultz, Stanford

If there is a Jason Witten clone in this draft, Schultz might be it. The Stanford tight end is a physical blocker with strong fundamentals and has been a key part of the team’s blocking scheme. He would fit nicely with the Cowboys rushing attack.

He’s not fast, but is sharp out of his breaks and makes for a great target on underneath routes. Schultz has a knack for attacking the voids in coverage and has proven to be a reliable target. His numbers aren’t impressive as he only had 22 catches for 212 yards last season.

While comparisons to the greatest tight end to ever play for the Cowboys is a little premature, Dalton fits this team perfectly. If you combine him with space tight end prospect Rico Gathers, that gives the Cowboys some good depth. At only 244 pounds, he’s a little undersized, but the last time people questioned the size of a Dalton, it didn’t work out so well for them.

Scouting video on Schultz: