The NFL doesn't really have an offseason if you are interested in the NFL Draft, and this week only proves this further true with the 2019 NFL Combine getting underway.
More than 20 tight ends will attend the combine, and the Cowboys will likely keep a close eye on each one of them. In particular, three members of this tight end class have a lot to prove at the combine, and can earn themselves a solid draft positioning if they come through.
Let's take a look at those three names and figure out what the Cowboys would like to see out of them this week.
Isaac Nauta, Georgia
Isaac Nauta had, well, modest production at Georgia, getting lost in the shuffle of talented players which all needed their targets on that prolific offense. His quiet production won't scare off tight-end needy teams on day two of the draft, however, especially not if Nauta can prove that his ability is much greater than that production.
The film shows that Nauta is a solid football player who should be able to contribute early and often as both a receiver and blocker in the NFL, but if he tests better than expected, he could find himself drafted as high as the early second round.
A good enough combine performance could raise Nauta out of the Cowboys' range, but it is more likely that not he will find himself available when the Cowboys first come to the podium.
Kaden Smith, Stanford
Stanford's Kaden Smith has become a common name thrown around by Cowboys fans over recent weeks, and with good reason. He fits what they seem to want in tight ends traditionally: a steady presence who can attack the seam, work underneath as a safety valve, and provide upside as a blocker.
Smith is far from an athletic freak, however, and shouldn't be expected to “kill” the combine. This is fine, but he has to test well enough to meet the Cowboys' threshold trend though. Smith needs to show that he was more physical tools to work with than what was shown on film, and that there are some raw skills to fine tune in order to raise his ceiling as a player.
If he can have a good workout at the combine, Smith could fall right into the Cowboys' plans 58th overall.
Foster Moreau, LSU
Foster Moreau will likely test better than both of the aforementioned tight ends in this post, but would be third when ranking the three as players. As a blocker, Moreau is impressive, and could serve as both a pass and run blocker on the Cowboys offense from day one.
But when projecting his ability in the pass game as a receiver, there isn't much there on film. He's going to need a good combine to convince teams he has upside worth gambling on as a receiver, and that he can be valuable in multiple alignments.