The 2018 NFL Draft is over, but we are not done reviewing the draft just yet! In the coming days, BTB will release film reviews on each player drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. This article features fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz out of Stanford.
After the news surfaced that Jason Witten was going to retire, attention tuned to a possible tight end selection in the 2018 draft for Dallas. A few weeks prior to the Witten retirement, James Hanna also retired, leaving the Cowboys with just Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and Rico Gathers on the roster.
Dallas has never utilized Swaim in a the way where he could become the starting tight end. Jarwin has potential, but has to prove it. And the jury is still out on Gathers and his future in the NFL. Dallas waited until the fourth round to address the position by drafting Dalton Schultz out of Stanford.
Stanford has produced a variety of quality tight ends to the NFL in recent years and Schultz might be the next of that club. In his three-year career at Stanford, Schultz caught 55 passes for 555 yards, five of which were touchdowns. He displayed quality run-blocking abilities as well in Stanford’s pro-style offense.
With question marks at the tight end position, Schultz could compete for playing time right away. Let’s take a look at some of Schultz’s snaps to see what makes him special.
In an area on the field where a field goal attempt is too long and a punt is not ideal, Stanford decided to go for it on fourth down.The first thing you might notice is Schultz is lined up outside, the second guy on the right side of the offense. He was the first read on the play and knew that he would have to make a contested catch while surrounded by multiple defenders. Schultz sets up his defender with a slight move to the outside then comes back hard to the inside. He catches the pass and then fights for the extra yards to pick up the first down and then some.
Schultz plays with an aggression in his game. That is evident here when Schultz puts on a big block that takes cares of the free safety, helping Bryce Love to score a touchdown. Notice once again Schultz is lined up in the slot instead of on the o-line. He is able to negotiate space better than you might think.
In this clip, we see Schultz make an initial block and then seals his defender. He gives up ground initially, but stays with the block and eventually gets the defender under control. While the play did not get much traction, Schultz’s block here showcases how he could play a role in Dallas’ heavy zone-blocking scheme.
Schultz moves laterally very well. And once he engages on a block, he does a good job of staying with his defender without holding him.
In this clip, we see another example of Schultz getting to the second level to create an easier running lane for another rushing touchdown. He does a good job of receiving the punch from the defender, then turning him away from the play and locking him out.
In Stanford’s offense, Schultz was asked to make catches in contested areas. Here, Schultz catches a pass in a hole in the zone of the defense and then creates YAC by breaking a tackle.
In this clip, there is another example of Schultz sealing his defender off to create a wider running lane. He does this from an inline position and totally turns the defender away from the play.
Because of what he was asked to do at Stanford his numbers are not eye-popping, but he is a functional tight end that should fit in well with what the Cowboys do on offense. He is a plus run-blocker with good hands who could provide some shades of what Witten did for the Cowboys.
He does not have spectacular athleticism like some tight ends in today’s NFL have, but Schultz wins at the point of attack, can make plays in contested areas, and even make subtle moves to break tackles. Does that sound familiar?
On top of being a reliable player for Stanford, both in the run-blocking and pass-catching departments, Schultz was a vocal team leader in college. There was a lot of roster turnover over the past few years for Stanford and Schultz was one of the returning players.
Games Watched: UCLA (2017), Washington State (2017), Oregon State (2017), Oregon (2017), Rice (2017).