The retirement of long time legend Jason Witten has left a lot of uncertainty around the tight end position in Dallas. The Cowboys haven't done a great job of preparing their tight ends group for life without Witten in the past, though they did draft one just last week.
That rookie tight end is Stanford's Dalton Schultz, and though he was only a fourth round pick, he's already being projected to be the Cowboys' biggest rookie surprise in 2018.
Ian Wharton put together a list predicting who will be each team's biggest surprise from their rookie class. His choice for the Cowboys? That very fourth round tight end, Dalton Schultz.
“The former Stanford Cardinal was never an overly productive player in college, totaling just 55 receptions, 555 yards and five touchdowns in three years. So expectations aren't for him to become a Pro Bowler, but he's also athletic enough to become more than a depth piece as a rookie. Schultz will be a contributor for this Cowboys passing attack in 2018.”
Wharton also cites the Cowboys' current lack of tight end talent as a reason for Schultz's opportunity to surprise people in 2018. After all, he could very well be the 2nd tight end right after training camp. While Geoff Swaim is expected to be the starter, fan favorite Rico Gathers has been a bit of a mystery over the last year.
It doesn't sound like the Cowboys staff is too high on Gathers, which could give Schultz the chance he needs to gain playing time early on.
I doubt that Dalton Schultz will be the Cowboys starting tight end week one of the 2018 season, but I do agree that he has the chance to have a productive year, especially for a fourth round pick. Already rather polished as a run blocker, Schultz could prove critical to the Cowboys efforts to run the ball and control the clock.
He won't be asked to fill Jason Witten's shoes, but Dalton Schultz could prove to be an excellent day three pick for the Dallas Cowboys.