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Cowboys news: Geoff Swaim might have the inside track as the starting tight end

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: Which tight end will emerge from the pack? - Tim Kohut, The Landry Hat
Rico Gathers is the freaky-athletic pass-catcher that everyone is excited about. Dalton Schultz is the shiny new toy from the draft. And Blake Jarwin is the guy the Eagles wanted, so clearly he's special, right? All those players have their own appeal, but nobody is much talking about the tight end with the most seniority in Dallas. Well, all except for Jason Witten, but what does he know?

According to Witten, who has seen most of these guys on the practice field, it appears Swaim is the early favorite to emerge as the top tight end from the bunch.

Gathers has phenomenal upside as a pass-catcher. And fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz appears to have a game that most closely resembles Witten.

But Swaim might be the most complete tight end of the bunch. Not to mention the fact he has two years of NFL experience under his belt, and a good rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott.

With nine career catches, Geoff Swaim reacts to now being the veteran of the Cowboys' TE room - Brandon George, SportsDay
It seems like only yesterday that the Cowboys traded a late-round draft pick to acquire Geoff Swaim, but now - he's the Cowboys most experienced tight end on the roster. At least he was able to spend some time around one of the game's best TE's.

Swaim said he learned several lessons from Witten, but he was particularly impressed with how Witten mastered his craft day in and day out.

"I would say for me when I watched him playing and in the meetings and everywhere it was a consistent pursuit of something," Swaim said. "Obviously his goals were to be the best he can be, to win Super Bowls and do all of those things. But for that day, he had a goal for that day that he wanted to work on a specific thing for that day. It was real evident that he was clearly pursuing a singular goal when he worked. He was very regimented and everything he did was done to his best all the time. That's just something he did well."

What was the most questionable draft pick of all four NFC East teams? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
As far as most questionable draft pick - Brugler's choice was not a Cowboys player, but he also weighed in on the team's tight end situation as it pertains to the draft.

Do you think the Cowboys would've drafted a TE in an earlier round if they had known about Jason Witten earlier in the offseason?

Brugler: This is an interesting "what if" scenario. I don't think it would have affected the first round. But day two might have looked different. When day two started and with Witten's decision still up in the air, the Cowboys elected to stay true to their board and they didn't chase any tight ends. They would not have drafted Dallas Goedert at No. 50 if he were available and not taken a pick earlier by the Eagles.

But if the Witten news became official earlier in the offseason and Dallas went into draft meetings knowing tight end was much more of a need, who knows. Maybe they look at Goedert in the second round or Ian Thomas in the third. Maybe they would have added someone in free agency. It is hard to believe the Cowboys when they say they like the tight ends on the roster.

It was also hard to believe them when they said they like their defensive linemen or their young group of defensive backs, but I don't doubt them now.

Scout’s Eye: Notes & Observations From The First Walkthroughs At Rookie Minicamp - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Check out Broaddus' observations from the first day of action of rookie minicamp, including how the team's top two draft picks are already turning heads.

I thought Leighton Vander Esch would help this defense in pass coverage with his length and range. In their perimeter drill, he had a nice interception off a zone drop. Vander Esch was moving to his left as the ball was thrown behind him. He stopped and dove back to his right to pull the ball in before it hit the ground.

Connor Williams did line up at left guard during both practices. Much like the workout that I witnessed in Austin for his Pro Day, the ease of movement was impressive. Marc Colombo put the offensive linemen through several drills where flexibility was stressed and Williams didn’t bat an eye. What was also impressive was his ability to quickly get to the second level on blocks. There were snaps where he was beating the linebacker to the spot on the cut off blocks. I am looking forward to seeing him and Tyron Smith work together with their athletic ability.

Michael Gallup: I'm not trying to replace Dez Bryant; 'That's not my role yet' - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Despite being a third-round pick, many people are excited about what Gallup brings to the offense. The rookie wide receiver took a moment to answer questions on Friday and as expected, the big shoes needing to be replaced will always be a popular talking point.

The Cowboys used a third-round pick on Gallup, who has the ability to play all three receiver positions. With Dez Bryant no longer on the team, there should be an opportunity for Gallup to get on the field early in his career.

However, that doesn't mean he expects to step in and immediately replace the production of the franchise's all-time leader in touchdown receptions.

"Dez is a great player," Gallup said. "It's hard for a rookie to come in and just replace all of the stuff that he's done here. We're out here trying to practice to be like him, obviously. But I'm not coming in here just to replace him. That's not my role yet."

New defensive backs coach Kris Richard is already making a strong impression with his new team.

Spurned by Terrell McClain, Boys wont pursue Johnathan Hankins - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
With Terrell McClain signing with the Falcons, would the Cowboys have any interest in former Giants' nose-tackle Johnathan Hankins? Mike Fisher explains why the team may pass on this run-stopping specialist.

So what happens now?

A source tells me the Cowboys will not be pursuing Johnathan Hankins, who has some skins on the wall. He was a good player with the Giants a few years ago before moving to the Colts last spring for a three-year, $27-million contract ... but then - shades of McClain - the Colts this spring cut him.

Various "scouting sites'' grade out the 6-2, 325-pound Hankins as a top-notch run-stopper, and he's just shy of his 26th birthday ... oh, and he was a second-round pick out of Ohio State, so there is pedigree.

But Dallas isn't ready to pounce ... and, my impression is, Dallas isn't ready to panic. Their evaluation of Hankins isn't a "knock''; it's just an evaluation, and it is this: He lacks "3-Tech traits'' that the Cowboys like to have in all their tackles. That is to say, a certain level of athleticism rather than just a "space-eater.''

Spagnola: Will You Know No. 43’s Name By Time The Season Begins? - Mickey Spagnola, Dallas Cowboys
If you haven't picked out your pet cat for 2018 yet, you might want to consider Joel Lanning right meow.

As a dual-threat QB, Lanning ends up passing for 1,290 yards and nine touchdowns while running for 518 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the team. In fact, in a 66-10 win over Texas Tech, Lanning carried the ball 17 times for 171 yards and five touchdowns.

But in the 2017 offseason, head coach Matt Campbell told Lanning he needed more of a passing quarterback than a running quarterback and that he was wanting to go with Jacob Park and Kyle Kempt as the top two QBs. So, Joel, would you mind moving to linebacker? Middle linebacker? A position he had not played since the eighth grade.

Now most guys, and especially quarterbacks, being asked to make such a move going into their senior year immediately would have asked for their transfer papers. Not Lanning. Sure, coach, whatever will help the team.

Well, I’ll be, the guy ends up leading Iowa State with 114 tackles (third in the Big 12), finished second with 11 tackles for losses, had three passes defensed and picked one. But that was not it. The Cyclones still needed him some at quarterback, mostly running the ball out of what was named for him, the Lan-Rampackage, usually on short-yardage, goal-line and fourth-down plays.

Oh, and you know the lyric Put me in coach? He also helped out on special teams.

What can Cowboys expect from QB-turned-LB Joel Lanning? Iowa State coach Matt Campbell dishes - Chuck Carlton, SportsDay
Lanning is the only modern day player who has had five touchdowns in one game and 20 tackles in another. This QB-turned linebacker will do whatever is asked of him and that fits in nicely with a Jason Garrett coached football team.

One part of his story is that when it became clear he wasn’t going to be the starting quarterback, he came to you and asked how he could help.

Campbell: That’s right. I think that’s what makes him really unique. He loves football. He loves the game. He’s built like a linebacker, probably built like a fullback and could probably do just about anything. The thing you appreciate is he’s a kid who really wants to be on the field and will do anything for his team to help them to be successful.

Former Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh explained the game Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott play - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Speaking of number 43, former Cowboy safety Gerald Sensabaugh took a moment to explain how Dak and Garrett's little game of catch is scored.

Dak Prescott and Jason Garrett squared off in the game that closely mimic targets practice, and we all watched with joy (also sadness knowing how the season ended). The two quarterbacks had some fun, got some shots in, and ultimately there was a winner and loser.

The thing is, unless you’re Dak or Garrett, the rules of the game are a bit unknown. We saw the game happen, but we have no context. Consider this the back of the defense because Gerald Sensabaugh just came in to save the day.

Cole Beasley releases full-length album: 'The Autobiography' - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
For those of you who are big fans of the easy listening from the relaxing soundscapes of nature, this might not interest you in the slightest. But if you like rap music from saucy wide receivers, you should definitely check this out.

Hot on the heels of catching the world off-guard not long ago with his now wildly popular first single "80 Stings", the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has released his new album -- titled "The Autobiography" -- that makes his debut record look like a pre-game warmup drill. He's changing gears often throughout, showing off his versatile ways in the booth and as elite as he can be on the NFL field, there's no denying he is that -- if not better -- once the microphone is turned on. Beasley himself has made it clear this isn't just a hobby he picked up lately, but instead a love he's been nurturing behind the scenes long before he joined the Cowboys' organization.