The Dalton Schultz Conundrum
Oh boy this is going to be a fun article to write about… A lot of Cowboys fans have very different opinions about the Stanford product and how good of a player he is. Well not really, every Cowboys fan knows that Schultz is a good player, but is he 13-15 Million dollars worth good? The main knock on him is that he isn’t an uber athletic Tight End and that he isn’t a good blocker, therefore he shouldn’t get paid like one. But what does the Tape say?
Coming out of Stanford, Schultz was known for being a capable and reliable target underneath, with an ability to block on the line. So the Cowboys decided to take him in the 4th round of the 2018 draft class. What's interesting however is that he posted an RAS Score of 7.11 out of 10, you wanna know who barely out scored him? Mark freaking Andrews! He scored a 7.26! So does that make Dalton a better athlete than he is given credit for or is Andrews not that good of an athlete? I'll let you decide. Personally, I feel like Dalton isn’t given enough credit. Why do I say that? Look at this play from Week 3 against the Eagles (SCHULTZ 86):
The Eagles were in Cover 1 Man (based on how the corners zero in on their man and how the Linebackers are directly over the Runningback/Tight End) and while Dalton’s defender does get caught with the play fake. What's crazy is that he’s just running a flat route and once he has the ball, there are 4 defenders with great pursuit angles on him looking to stop him at the 10 or 5. But he shows off that 3 cone drill and stops on a dime and instantly erases those angles that the defenders had and puts 6 on the board.
Pretty impressive, what's probably equally as impressive is a Touchdown he scored in week 12 against the Raiders:
Its Cover 2 Zone and the Cowboys come out in a spread look, this leaves Schultz one on one with Perryman down the seam who has the responsibility to cover the hole that is left open in the middle due to the safeties being so far apart. And well the results speak for themselves. Now, people will point out that he scored on a Linebacker that isn’t good in coverage and that it "shouldn’t count" and that he "should have" scored if he got that match up. However I disagree, it should count 100% for him because he DID make that play, he punished the defense for a mistake that they made and made them pay in the worst way possible in professional football, with a Touchdown.
Okay, one more example of how good he is at catching the football, look at this catch against the Saints one week later in Week 13:
I believe the Saints are in some kind of Cover 1 where Alexander is supposed to rotate with Jenkins if Schultz keeps going vertical, which he does, leaving Jenkins manned up with Schultz. I know this 10 yard gain doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping like the last 2 plays but it shows something important, his ability to high point and secure the catch. A lot of people think that he is just a possession receiver, but this play shows that he can get aggressive with the ball in the air. With Jenkins all over him you can see how he just keeps looking at the ball and once he secures it, it’s his ball and no one else's. (Here is a better look at the play):
So what about him as a Route Runner? Surely he is too big to run clean routes, right? Well what’s interesting is that he can get seperation, he's actually good at it. While he didn't get the ball, look at this play in Week 4 Against the Panthers.
Mind you, he was going against a corner when he got open on that whip route. I believe it’s A.J Bouye who is 6 foot and 190 pounds. This 6’5 245 pound specimen of a person was able to shake off someone who is significantly smaller than him! (Don’t hold me against that. I tried my hardest to make sure that that's Bouye and based on what I found I'm like 90% sure)
Now, I'm not just going to sit here on my computer and ignore what he needs to work on, this wouldn’t be an honest review after all if I did that. What I do feel like he needs to work on is Ironing out a certain tendency he has. Every once in a while he rounds out his routes and does not actually cut. It seemed like every other route was like this, that's not to say that he is a bad route runner but it is something he could work on.
He’ll do too much at the end of a route like "beating the drums" per say, he'll move his hands violently at the top of a route indicating to the defender that a break is coming or sometimes he’ll stand up when he is about to cut, also giving a tell to the defender.
Unfortunately, well at least for me, we are not done yet. We still need to go over his blocking ability and this seems to be the common issue for cowboys fans to agree on. But if I cover that here, the article might end up being double in size. So I'll leave it for another day and hopefully share it with you guys as soon as I am done, hopefully later this week. I'll also go over my stat predictions and what I would do if I were the Cowboys with Dalton Schultz. Thank you guys for reading.