The 2016 training camp for the Dallas Cowboys is approaching quickly, as the team will hit the fields in Oxnard, California late next month. Beginning the process of bettering themselves and shaping the roster for a hopeful return to the NFC’s supremacy this season, the summer heat is surely going to bring out some intense competition.
As we have seen under Head Coach Jason Garrett, the lower spots on the Cowboys’ roster are constantly being battled for by a multitude of players – perhaps with no better example than in this upcoming camp. One position that will force Dallas to make some interesting decisions on the depth chart is the tight end spot, where a lot could happen behind future Hall of Fame inductee Jason Witten.
A second-year player that will be looking to take a big step up is Geoff Swaim, who the Cowboys traded a pick for in order to select Swaim with their last selection in 2015 at 246 overall.
Seventh round tight ends don’t typically fire up fans far and wide, but Swaim was put in a pretty good situation for his rookie season in 2015. Drafted as a blocking tight end who could also provide some ability in the passing game, Swaim found it difficult to surpass blocker James Hanna on the depth chart for most of the year.
However, a season-ending Gavin Escobar injury during the Cowboys’ week 15 home loss to the Jets allowed Geoff Swaim to end 2015 by starting the final two games. Gaining valuable experience, the Texas Longhorns product will arrive to training camp with James Hanna still on the team, along with Escobar, who will still be recovering from his torn Achilles.
A new face at the position, and a wild card at that, is Rico Gathers, who is another tight end that the Cowboys used a draft pick on in the 6th round of the recent 2016 draft. With no college football experience to speak of, Gathers was drafted as an athletic body that starred as a basketball player at Baylor University.
Particularly, Gathers’ was known on the hardwood for his rebounding prowess, which could potentially translate to him snagging passes comfortably from Tony Romo. Additionally, there is something the Cowboys clearly see in Swaim, and they will be far more likely to continue his development with plenty of snaps throughout the preseason as opposed to working with the unproven Gathers.
Geoff Swaim finds himself in a position where he will have to cleanly beat out Gathers for his roster spot, while potentially challenging Gavin Escobar at his best and forcing James Hanna into some competition. While the number of tight ends the Cowboys carry may vary depending on the situation at fullback, the Cowboys’ are going to have to likely part with one of their current players at the position – whichever offers them the least sustainability and versatility.
While Cowboys Nation anticipates Tony Romo finding his groove again by throwing the ball to Jason Witten this summer, you should keep an eye on the competition behind him, led by sophomore Geoff Swaim.
What do you expect from Swaim this season? Let us know! Comment with your thoughts below to start the conversation!