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Does Jake Ferguson have what it takes to step up in 2023?

The position has been a valve for during his 7-year career.

First, it was sprinkled in with some of the late , , and .

For the last three seasons, has held the mantle.

During the 2022 Draft, Dallas selected Wisconsin Tight End in the fourth round.

He formed a 1-2 punch with undrafted free-agent as the backup to Schultz.

Now, Dalton has left America's team heading to the abyss that is Houston. Ferguson has positioned himself to take the baton and move into the starting lineup.

A lot has to play out first in and , but something tells me Jake is up for the challenge.

The second-year pro received the most significant vote of confidence a young player could receive last season during weekend.

All-Pro Tight End included Jake as a player who he was excited about and interested in where they could take their game.

Why? Kelce saw something in the second-year player.

It was enough to create excitement across the Cowboys' fanbase.

I'm not sure if Ferguson has Kelce's Skills but he has the confidence

It's simple.

Some players have that “it” factor, and others don't. Early in Jake Ferguson's rookie season, it was clear that the lights were not too bright for him.

The Dallas Cowboys are arguably the most prominent sports stage in the world.

Missing out on his opportunity to perform in front of the Cowboys' faithful wasn't in the cards for him.

He performed admirably as a backup, but we'll discuss that later.

This , we see glimpses of the guy walking around with a big stick. The early talks during the draft cycle about Dallas targeting a tight end went in one ear and out the other.

That poise is a testament to his self-confidence.

In only one season, he has made a player expendable, welcomed competition from someone drafted higher than him, and kept beaming.

That's a baller, which is partly what Travis Kelce was referring to.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 24: Jake Ferguson #87 of the Dallas Cowboys jumps over Jason Pinnock #27 of the during the second half at on November 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Wesley Hitt / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Ferguson has more potential than he gets credit for

With only 22 targets last season, Ferguson successfully pulled in 19 receptions. He made the most of his opportunities.

The cherry on top was the 0 drops in his smaller sample size.

Pictures like the one above, hurdling a defender, can be construed differently. The numbers, however, will give you a more straightforward story.

Hot take. As reliable as Dalton was as a receiver, there were many times we've watched him fall after the catch. There was minimal movement down the field when a defender touched him. Last year, Ferguson was more of a playmaker after the catch than Schultz was.

According to , Jake's yards after the catch was 6.4 compared to Dalton's 3.6.

Not to mention, Jake had a much higher quarterback rating when targeted than Dalton (129.9 versus 804). That tells me that he is quarterback friendly, which is what Prescott needs.

Dallas did play a substantial amount of 12-personnel. So, the two tight-end sets were practical for this team.

However, it gets to a point where the veteran becomes a progress stopper.

Ferguson's ceiling is about to rise tremendously with a more precise pathway. was one. Unfortunately, Dalton Schultz was another.

The second-year jump is coming for Jake Ferguson

Some will say that will challenge Ferguson for the starting job. That may be true.

The rookie from Michigan was a second-round pick.

We should also expect some form of competition that includes Peyton Hendershot and . The smart money will be on the sophomore bump the former Wisconsin Badger will get.

Let's use Dalton Schultz as an example. If you removed the when Witten returned from , his stats increased substantially.

He saw his receptions jump from 12 to 63 from 2018 to 2020.

Schultz averaged 94 targets over his final three seasons with Dallas. I envision that same type of growth for Ferguson.

Is it unimaginable that Ferguson could get somewhere in the ballpark of 70 targets?

I think not.

Jake Ferguson is going to pick up where Dalton Schultz left off.

He has enough speed and athleticism to attack different areas of the to spread where his targets will come from.

In a nutshell, the Dallas Cowboys have good problems with the tight end position.

The cream will rise to the top. Once the dust settles, I'm confident Jake Ferguson will be on top of the heap.

Jermaine Arvie
Jermaine Arvie
I currently reside in the Mansfield Texas area. I'm a huge Dallas Cowboy fan. Love to talk sports, love to write. Currently writes for Fansided and as well as Inside The Star.

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