Cowboys Draft 2019: Pick 136 is a nice spot for Cowboys to consider taking a tight end



The Cowboys could find a tight end that presents value late into the fourth round

The Cowboys’ front office has to be pleased with how guys like Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz started to perform at the end of last season. With the team bringing back Jason Witten, though it is a short-term move, it’s hard to envision the Cowboys spending a premium pick on the position. There might be tight ends they like in this class like a Jace Sternberger but we’re not hearing much in the way of the Cowboys loving any of the tight end prospects.

The Cowboys will likely address the position, but with Witten and the other two guys, it’s a position that they will likely wait on. But that doesn’t mean that they can find value at tight end in the later rounds. In fact, the Cowboys might be able to find some prospects with solid traits with their compensatory selection in the fourth round.

(Here is a chart of 12 tight ends entering this year’s draft with various round projections. We’ll include all pre-draft visitors. All rankings are based off of Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings at the Athletic.)

TIGHT END SCHOOL POS RK PROJ. RD 40-YD REC YD REC TD Y/R
KAHALE WARRING SAN DIEGO ST. 4 3 4.67 637 51 8 12.5
DAWSON KNOX OLE MISS 5 3 4.58 605 39 0 15.5
JACE STERNBERGER TEXAS A&M 6 3 4.75 837 49 10 17.1
KADEN SMITH STANFORD 8 4 4.92 1049 70 7 15
DREW SAMPLE WASHINGTON 9 4-5 4.71 487 46 5 10.6
TREVON WESCO W. VIRGINIA 10 4-5 4.89 373 28 2 13.3
FOSTER MOREAU LSU 11 4-5 4.66 629 52 6 12.1
ISAAC NAUTA GEORGIA 12 5 4.83 905 68 8 13.3
ALIZE MACK NOTRE DAME 13 5-6 4.7 716 68 4 10.5
DAX RAYMOND UTAH STATE 14 5-6 4.7 873 72 3 12.1
DONALD PARHAM STETSON 16 6-7 4.67 2591 180 20 14.4
CALEB WILSON UCLA 18 4-5 4.56 1675 114 5 14.7

When looking for guys that might be available in that late fourth-fifth round range, there were several interesting candidates.

KADEN SMITH

JR-STANFORD 6’5 253 LBS PROJ RD:4

Strengths

Weaknesses

NFL-ready bulk, great pass-catching technique, big hands, strong coordination & tracking skills, quickness well controlled & maintained in routes, comfortable making catches in traffic, good balance of blocking

Not explosive mover & doesn’t make leaping grabs, physicality as a finisher but not going to break many tackles, sub-par TD production, technique as blocker is clunky at times, needs footwork refinement

Kaden Smith is certainly a player worth developing as he projects well as a future starting tight end in the NFL. Smith stepped into the role left empty by Dalton Schultz and almost doubled his production in far fewer games played. Smith has a ton of potential and is a smooth athlete but he will need a patient coaching staff willing to develop him. The Cowboys tend to shy away from guys that need so much work in blocking technique but Smith could be an exception. He’s definitely going to set himself a part from a pass-catching standpoint compared to other late-round prospects.

DREW SAMPLE

SR-WASHINGTON 6’5 250 LBS PROJ. RD: 4-5

Strengths

Weaknesses

Prototypical size, balanced blocker, good hands to stun & seal off blocks, great hands, hardly any drops, tracks the ball well & makes proper adjustments, can improvise & helps QB, very mature

Below-average production as pass catcher, pedestrian route runner, release needs work, doesn’t have much explosion as a runner, durability concerns

Drew Sample is the guy on this list that the Cowboys are most likely to draft because of his makeup. He’s a pretty skilled blocker that does a really nice job of sealing off edge rushers, with the NFL-level size for the position. Sample is a very high character-guy with the ability to see a quarterback in need and give him a security blanket. He possesses really nice hands and can be trusted not to drop the ball but he’s still very underdeveloped as a pass-catcher. His footwork and route tree need developing at the next level. Though he’s not really top-notch in any one category, he’s got a good balanced skill-set that fits within the Cowboys scheme.

FOSTER MOREAU

SR-LSU 6’4 253 LBS PROJ. RD: 4-5

Strengths

Weaknesses

Accelerates well off the line, natural hands catcher, durable, very high IQ, wastes zero motion, finishes all blocks, team captain, great character

Needs to improve route salesmanship, non-threatening after catch, needs to work on high-pointing, catch radius disappoints, mediocre production

Foster Moreau would likely be another guy the Cowboys front office would appreciate for his work-ethic and leadership qualities. His football acumen and character are off the charts and he will always keep working to improve his game. As a blocker, few in this class finish as well as Moreau. He doesn’t have the catch-radius you would expect from a guy with his length but he does have very reliable hands. Moreau will need work in understanding and being decisive with his routes. Overall, he’s got the tools and athleticism to be a productive contributor in an NFL offense.

ALIZE MACK

JR-NOTRE DAME 6’4 251 LBS PROJ. RD: 4-5

Strengths

Weaknesses

Athletically gifted, acceleration in routes is outstanding at every level, routinely embarrases LB’ers, one of best YAC-threats in the class, can extend to make the catch, highpoints the ball, mismatch nightmare

Hands are inconsistent with lots of drops, needs to sell his routes better, struggles to take to tough coaching, immature, blocking is marginal & can be exposed, character concerns include suspensions

Alize Mack will show up as an incredible athletic specimen on tape with tremendous upside as a potential mismatch threat in the NFL. He’s clearly one of the best playmakers at the position with incredible work done after the catch. The issue with Mack will always be his character concerns, he’s not the easiest guy to coach and was suspended by his coaches before. Mack has a really high ceiling but his blocking abilities are a mess and he will have to show the willingness to improve in that area before he will crack a starting lineup.

ISAAC NAUTA

JR-GEORGIA 6’3 244 LBS PROJ. RD: 4-5

Strengths

Weaknesses

Well-built for position, looks like NFL definition of TE, accelerates well, natural receiver, makes great adjustments, route-savvy, above-average blocker, jolts & slows hus man, NFL-level grit, trusted pass protector

Average athleticism, stiff-hipped, needs to disguise routes better, too aggressive at times, below-average production, disappears in the red zone

Isaac Nauta will check all your boxes in terms of blocking abilities and he has a very well-rounded skill-set for the position. He’s not an elite pass-catcher but he’s a natural plucker when the ball comes his way with good timing on adjustments. He still has a ways to go in improving his technique, consistency, and learning how to sell his routes. Nauta doesn’t show up very often in the red-zone and his athleticism leaves more to be desired. Still, he does a great job in pass protection and can contribute early as a lead blocker too.



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