Sean McKeon has spent the last four years playing for one of college football’s most prolific programs at Michigan. Now an undrafted rookie in Dallas, will that big-school experience help the tight end find a job with the Dallas Cowboys?
McKeon is one of many 2020 prospects whose draft stock was damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. After only being able to participate in the bench press at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Sean’s Pro Day was cancelled after the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, being a Wolverine has its advantages. Michigan was able to put together a late scouting event for McKeon and some teammates in April and Sean put up competitive numbers; clearly one of the better athletes at TE in the 2020 draft.
McKeon’s basic stats are also promising; 6’5″ height and 238 lbs. He has a long wingspan and big hands for catching the ball, but definitely need to get stronger if he’s going to compete as a blocker in the NFL.
This 2020 class wasn’t a great one in general for the TE position. The first one didn’t come off the board until the middle of Round 2, leading to less enthusiasm for the rest to follow. That’s especially true once you get to the players who didn’t even get drafted.
Despite this low profile coming out of the draft, Sean McKeon benefits from working Michigan’s pro-style offense under NFL product Jim Harbaugh. He will have an easier time transitioning to the big league than some other college players might.
Even a brilliant showing in training camp and preseason may not be enough, though. The Cowboys have a fairly certain top-three on the TE depth chart already; Blake Jarwin, Blake Bell, and Dalton Schultz. It’s likely that McKeon’s only hope to make the roster is if Dallas keeps four tight ends or one of those players get injured.
The more reasonable goal for Sean is the practice squad. He will have competition there as well in Cole Hikutini, who spent 2019 on the squad for the Cowboys.
Hikutini benefits from years of NFL coaching since going undrafted in 2017. He’s also learned from a few different coaches between the 49ers, Vikings, and Cowboys.
However, that experience also comes at a cost. McKeon is about four years younger and perhaps more perceived upside and room for development.
While it’s no #88 in terms of Cowboys legacy, the #84 that Sean McKeon’s already been assigned carries some fond memories at the TE position. That was Jay Novacek’s number in the 1990s, who himself was just a late-round draft pick that unexpectedly became a household name.
Will Sean McKeon get the same opportunity, and even so what can he do with it? He has good size, athleticism, and college experience, but finding a spot with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 will be his toughest challenge yet.