There was a great deal of offseason talk about Gavin Escobar's need to bulk up and add muscle – which he did – in order to improve his ability to block and, thus, stay in more games for more plays.
Notwithstanding his clear improvement in that area, much of the talk about improved tight end blocking lately has centered around third-year player James Hanna.
The Oklahoma product, a sixth round draft choice in 2012, was known primarily for his speed (he had the lowest 40 yard dash official time among tight ends in the 2012 combine) and questionable hands. But, at least so far in the 2014 training camp (and notwithstanding a terrible job trying to block in the strip sack during the San Diego game), Hanna's blocking may well be the best of all the tight ends currently on the Dallas roster. And onlookers agree that he's improved his pass catching ability since making the team in 2012.
To the surprise of many, Hanna – thought to be a serious candidate for losing his roster spot to a blocking tight end – actually may be a much more valuable piece in an otherwise strong offensive arsenal. And that's saying something, given the broad talent the Cowboys boast on offense.