Like all the other teams that make up the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys use the off-season to analyze their current players in hopes of putting together the best 53 man roster possible for the upcoming season.
It has already been rumored that the Cowboys plan to use a couple of the current players on the roster at a different position in order to find a bigger role for them or determine their fate to make the final cuts.
Keith Smith (6’0″, 232) is moving from the defensive side of the ball to offense, and trying to make the conversion from linebacker to fullback. Rod Smith (6’3″, 226) is also being looked at as a fullback after joining the team as a tailback in 2015 after initially being cut by the Seattle Seahawks.
Actually, I wrote an article not too long ago on this topic about the Cowboys exploring all options at the fullback position, but I think there might just be another option that I didn’t even consider until now.
At the time I heard a lot of people mentioned that the Cowboys should just use a tight end to play the fullback position, but the name that was tossed around was James Hanna. Although not a terrible idea, Hanna has proven himself to be valuable as an in-line blocker and is one of the reasons why the running game has been so successful. So, I didn’t like the idea.
There is however another tight end on the roster that I think might possibly be the answer to addressing the fullback position.
It may have slipped your mind that the Cowboys decided to trade back into the 2015 NFL Draft after initially using all of their draft picks. They did this in order to make sure they secured the rights to Swaim, who at the time was considering signing as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers.
The trade consisted of the Cowboys giving up a 2016 sixth round draft pick in order to move back into the draft and select the former University of Texas tight end at 246th overall.
The former Longhorn didn’t put up eye popping numbers during his two years at UT. He only had a total of 13 receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown, but the fact that he was mostly used as a blocking tight end must’ve caught the Cowboys eye.
Swaim did enough in the off-season last year to earn a roster spot and force the Cowboys into carrying four tight ends in 2015.
Swaim was inactive for the first 12 games, but was able to get some playing experience in the last four games of the season, especially after Gavin Escobar’s injury. He ended the year with one reception for 0 yards.
So, if you haven’t figured it out already, I think it would be a good idea on the Cowboys part to see what Swaim can do as a fullback.
Swaim already has some experience being a lead blocker, having done it a little while he was in college at the University of Texas.
The coaching staff at UT used him as an in-line blocker and also lined him up in the backfield as a lead blocker for the tailback. He would be bigger than a traditional fullback (6’4″, 260), but we have seen the Cowboys use tight ends in this way before.
Honestly, I like the idea of using Swaim as a fullback. The Cowboys will probably already have him active as a third tight end on game day because we still don’t know when Escobar will be able to return from his Achilles injury.
I think the real reason the Cowboys are looking for more versatility out of the fullback position is because the last few seasons Tyler Clutts didn’t contribute much in other areas, such as special teams. In fact, he only played 13% of the offensive snaps (133), and only played 79 snaps on special teams, so you can understand why the organization is looking for someone who can contribute more.
If Swaim can play on the majority of the special-teams units, tight end, and fullback, then the Cowboys could possibly go little thin at certain positions or decide to go little bit heavier at a different position. It really frees up exactly what they can do with the final 53 man roster.
At this point in the off-season though, there really is no way of telling exactly what’s on the Cowboys mind and who might be battling one another for a specific position.
I do however believe it would be a good idea to throw Geoff Swaim’s name in the hat to compete for the starting position at fullback along with Keith and Rod Smith. I would let the three of them battle it out until the best man wins.
All in all, it will be really interesting to see what the Cowboys decide to do for a fullback for the upcoming 2016 season