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Could OT, Not TE Be Rico Gathers’ Best Position In Dallas?

Brian Martin

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Could Offensive Tackle Be Rico Gathers Best Position With Dallas?

When it comes to Rico Gathers and his NFL career, there is still a lot of unknown about the Dallas Cowboys second-year tight end. Still, that doesn't stop Cowboys' fans from hoping he is the heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. But, I'm not even sure if tight end is Gathers' best position. I think it could possibly be offensive tackle and I'll tell you why.

We all know that Rico Gathers is a tremendous athlete. I've actually been a fan of his for quite a while. I followed his collegiate basketball career at Baylor and was actually really excited when the Cowboys decided to draft him in the sixth round a year ago.

At first, I thought he would make a really good tight end in time, but that all depended on how quickly he could advance in his development. He has really rare size and athletic ability for man his size, but that doesn't necessarily always translate to the field.

Word is Gathers has taken the next step in his development and has been impressive in the off-season practices so far. But, I'm still not quite sure if he will ever get to the stage where he can be a reliable tight end. For me, that mostly has to do with how much the Dallas Cowboys ask their tight ends to do and the obstacles he still has to overcome.

Personally, I think there are two things that are holding him back so far. The first one is the mental aspect of the game. Rico Gathers not only has to know his blocking assignments and blitz pickups, but he also has to be able to read defensive coverages to know which routes to run. And that is the second thing I think holding him back, his route running.

Rico Gathers has never really had to run routes in the passing game in his entire life before joining the Dallas Cowboys. It's not something that's going to come to him overnight, but it is something that I think could keep him off the field as a tight end.

Due to his size, Gathers is going to struggle getting in and out of his breaks when running pass routes. He just looks stiff running, but the coaching staff is working with him to try to and loosen him up. That could really limit his effectiveness and possibly keep him from becoming a starter. But, that's not necessarily bad news the way I see it.

Rico GathersThe Dallas Cowboys have Rico Gathers listed at  6'6", 290. That's nearly 2 inches taller and nearly 40 pounds heavier than the average tight end in the NFL. But, if he packs on about 10 to 15 pounds, he would he would almost exactly the same size as the Dallas Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

Tyron Smith is an athletic freak in his own right and has become one of the best left tackles in the NFL. I honestly see a lot of the same traits in Rico Gathers as I do Tyron Smith. I personallly believe Gathers would make a much quicker transition to tackle, and actually thrive there.

You see, Gathers' background in basketball would actually work in his favor as a tackle. He already has a really good foundation in place by knowing how to mirror defenders and shuffle his feet while doing so. He also has the physicality that will help him as a blocker as well. And that's not even mentioning how much his athletic ability will help him on the outside in space.

I'm not saying the Dallas Cowboys will switch Rico Gathers to tackle anytime soon, but it's not a bad fallback option. The mental aspect of the game really isn't as difficult as tight end, and like I said earlier, I think he already has the foundation in place. That is why I believe his best position in the NFL might be offensive tackle, not tight end.

Do you think Rico Gathers would make a good offensive tackle?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. BrooklynPhenix Rising

    June 28, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Without reading the article my thought was the only position would be Tackle. I didn’t know he was 290 pounds, so yes that transition would work, it worked for Rayfield Wright didn’t he come out of college a TE? Anyway the name of the game is do whatever to get on the field. So if he did switch or they asked him to move it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      June 28, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      I’m not sure about Rayfield Wright. That’s something I’m going to have to look up. I know Lane Johnson of the Philadelphiaa Eagles made that transition and he’s doing well for himself. I don’t see any reason why Gathers wouldn’t be able to do it.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        June 29, 2017 at 3:40 am

        Lane Johnson though played offensive line in college for OU before being drafted.

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          June 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

          That’s true, but he was recruited as a TE.

          • John Williams

            John Williams

            July 3, 2017 at 1:01 am

            That’s a good point.

  2. John Williams

    John Williams

    June 29, 2017 at 3:40 am

    He certainly has the size to do it. That being said, I still am intrigued by his ability as a tight end.

    Maybe for 2017, the coaches should strictly game plan him to be an inline blocker to help him get more comfortable with that in the early going. Then as the season progresses begin adding more routes to the gameplan for him.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      June 29, 2017 at 9:55 am

      I’m still intrigued by Gathers as well, but I think his skill set better suits that of an OT. I think the only way he gets on the field in 2017 is if the coaching staff has some kind of specific package for him on offense. He’s just not ready to be thrown into the fire yet.

      • John Williams

        John Williams

        July 3, 2017 at 1:00 am

        I agree. He’s one of just several intriguing story lines heading into training camp.

  3. ThePsychodad69

    July 2, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Can we give him a few games before deciding he can’t do it. The kid was a low post player that could dribble and rebound. The reounding gives him good hands, the hardest part for him is getting open in football where as basketball all he had to do was get position and rebound which he did pretty well, so eyehand coordination is there. Besides pretty sure he can run 7yds and high point a few 1st downs or stand under the goalpost and wait for the alleyoop for a dunk right now. He’s a matchup nightmare within 15yds he runs pretty good, maybe not a great route runner but like #82 he can box out and grab a pass, with his athleticism even on dump offs he’s a career decision to tackle.

    Wright played in a age of TEs being a 6th lineman, very few TEs played beyond the line of scrimmage or caught the ball beyond the occasional designed play.

    Either way he should make the 53 if HannaSwaim miss time or they go lite on the line.
    Hell would love to see WittenGaethersSkipper in a 3TE set near the goal line with Dak, Zeke and Dez. Put Skipper in the backfield behind Zeke as a blocker, then shift into a stack, who follows Skipper is the tell and then let Zeke smash the weakside.

    Pass the Xanax, this team is going to keep DCs up all nite and ruin careers for some.

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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