For the Dallas Cowboys, Rico Gathers may be the best known tight end on the team. That, however, doesn’t mean anything when it comes to his chances of making the 53-man roster in 2018. It won’t be easy to fill Jason Witten’s shoes in Dallas, and having a group of inexperienced players will certainly make the task even more difficult.
From the moment he was drafted, most in Cowboys Nation have rooted hard for the young basketball star who planned on transitioning to football. Talk about a sports fairy-tale! Of course fans want to see him succeed.
Heading into the 2018 season, though, things have changed. The mostly unjustified hype surrounding Gathers has died out and hopes of him making the roster seem slim. His competition, although inexperienced, has the upper hand right now thanks to their blocking skills. For an offense like the Cowboys’ blocking is obviously a huge deal.
I think Gathers will end up on someone’s roster but I doubt he’ll be wearing the Star. If I were a betting man , I’d bet he’ll get cut and the Cowboys’ front office will move on from the sixth-round gamble they made in 2016.
Even still, there is hope for the 24-year old tight end in Dallas. For Rico Gathers to make the team, he needs to prove he can be a very dangerous weapon in the passing game, specifically in the red zone.
You see, with Dez Bryant‘s departure and Witten’s retirement, the Cowboys don’t seem to have a go-to guy when they’re knocking on opponent’s end zones. Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley are a promising starting trio of wide receivers, but how intimidated will defenses will be by them inside their own 20-yard line?
Probably not much.
If you add a 6’6″ athletic tight end who can go up for the ball to the equation, things change. Rico is bigger than most defenders and could become a weapon thanks to his raw ability. Even though he still has a long way to go to become a starting TE in the NFL, he could become very effective in certain situations.
Gathers is the underdog on this position battle. Geoff Swaim probably has his spot locked up thanks to him being the most experienced one of them all. Rookie Dalton Schultz seems to be the player with the most upside. Blake Jarwin is clearly liked by the coaching staff.
If the Cowboys decide to carry just three tight ends, the decision will probably come down to Gathers and Jarwin.
If Rico is to win the battle, he’ll have to rely on his abilities as a pass catcher. At the end of the day, Dak Prescott will need dangerous targets in his third year in the league. It’s up to Rico to prove he can be just that if he wants to make the team.