With their second selection in the fourth round of last year's NFL Draft, the Cowboys looked to find a tight end to hopefully fill the void left by Jason Witten's retirement just a few days earlier. They selected Dalton Schultz, who was primarily a run blocker in college rather than a seam-buster or vertical threat for Stanford's offense, but possessed some qualities Cowboys fans grew to love.
Replacing a legend is no small task, especially for a fourth round pick. But in 2018, that's exactly what Dalton Schultz and company were asked to do. And in the end, they did a solid job of replicating his production and ability during his final days.
The 2018 fourth round selection from Stanford wasn't expected to play all that much his rookie year, though injuries thrust him into the TE2 role towards the end of the season. In limited reps Dalton Schultz impressed overall, showing an upside as a receiver which he didn't put on display much during his college career.
Though he only finished his season with 12 catches for 116 yards, it was the flashes he provided as a receiver which gives me hope for his future with Dak Prescott. Once Geoff Swaim went down, Schultz made his impact felt, and formed a formidable tight end duo with Blake Jarwin.
As a run blocker Schultz improved as the season went on as well. He's not the type of player who's going to drive defensive ends off the ball consistently, but he uses his technique and body positioning well to make blocks. He also worked nicely off double teams with tackles and tight ends in the zone running game.
It's hard to predict exactly what Dalton Schultz's ceiling is, though it doesn't appear being a TE1 option is part of his future. Still, Schultz not only proved worthy of his fourth round draft positioning, but also proved he should remain in the long term tight end plans for the Cowboys moving forward.
If the Cowboys can get themselves a true TE1 this offseason, slating Schultz into what is likely his “correct” spot on the depth chart, tight end will suddenly become an area of depth for the Cowboys in 2019.