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Instant analysis: Cowboys add another offensive weapon, selecting Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson

Jake Ferguson is a Dallas Cowboy!

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Nebraska at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We knew the Dallas Cowboys were going to select a tight end at some point in the 2022 NFL Draft. On day three they finally got their guy, selecting Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson with the 129th pick.

The 23-year-old posted consistent production during his college career, catching at least 30 passes and recording over 300 receiving yards every year he was at Wisconsin. In his senior season, Ferguson was named First Team All-Big Ten and led his team in receptions (46) and receiving TDs (3).

Ferguson will pair nicely with Dalton Schultz, giving the Cowboys one of the better pass-catching tight end duos in football. Here’s what NFL Draft analyst Dan Brugler, of The Athletic, had to say about the tight end in his 2022 NFL Draft guide.

STRENGTHS: Averaged-sized target … strong hands to snatch-and-secure, holding on after big hits … appears unfazed when required to finish in traffic … athletic feet to square off routes or post up in zone coverage … feels defenders around him and comfortable working the middle of the field … displays the run balance to challenge would-be tacklers after the catch … competitive blocker, especially in the run game, and usually gets the job done … the Wisconsin coaches say he isn’t afraid to address the team and be a vocal leader … consistently productive and set a school-record with a catch in 47 consecutive games (every game of his career) … finished his career third all-time in receiving yards by a tight end in school history (10 yards behind Troy Fumagalli).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Ferguson was primarily an inline tight end in head coach Paul Chryst’s offense. The grandson of Wisconsin legendary head coach Barry Alvarez, he was a model of consistency for the Badgers, catching 30-plus passes in four consecutive seasons (only draftable tight end in this class who can stay that). Ferguson has natural tracking skills and works well with bodies around him, registering only one drop on 61 targets in 2021. However, he is a onespeed runner and doesn’t have burst out of his breaks or a pull-away gear to scare defenses as a pass-catcher. He has the mentality needed for blocking duties, but his average play strength and technique will be more pronounced in the NFL. Overall, Ferguson doesn’t have much style, but he has substance because of his above average ball skills and competitiveness as a blocker. He has the upside to be an NFL team’s No. 2 tight end.

Here’s what Kyle Youmans of had to say about the tight end.

Kyle Youmans’ Report: As reliable a pass catcher and a blocker of any tight end in the class. Physical at the point of attack and with his hands as a blocker. Can elevate to reel in a bad pass and has the speed to gain an advantage on a defender.

While the Cowboys may have preferred some higher-rated tight ends like Washington’s Cade Otton or Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar, they still got a solid addition in Ferguson. The tight end will fill the role that Dallas hoped Blake Jarwin could last season, helping spell Schultz and being an extra threat in the passing game.

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