Entering his third NFL season, Tight End Dalton Schultz is still waiting to find a significant role with the Dallas Cowboys. According to recent reports from training camp, Schultz appears to be making strides and could be pushing for the primary backup job in 2020.
Blake Jarwin was essentially named the starter when he was given a four-year, $22 million contract during the offseason. That has proven true in camp as he's been primarily running with the first team; neither Schultz or Blake Bell has been worked in enough to say there's any competition going on at the top of the depth chart.
Bell was signed in free agency after serving as Travis Kelce's backup in Kansas City and winning a Super Bowl. His one-year, $1.7 million deal was clearly backup money. The only question was if he'd be handed the job or put into a battle with Dalton Schultz.
At the very least, it does appear Schultz is getting his opportunities to shine. And based on the reports, he may be pushing his way into the number-two spot.
A lot of situational work for the offense and defense again today, two-minute stuff. Chido Awuzie had a pick on Dak. Prescott also found the end zone with passes to Gallup and Zeke. TE Dalton Schultz had a solid day catching the ball, too.
— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) August 24, 2020
I’m gonna keep talking about Dalton Schultz. It’s hard to judge his blocking ability in practice, but he is very active and very impressive in the passing game.
Noah Brown also continues to impress this week. He catches so smoothly and never seems to fight the ball.
— David Helman (@davidhelman_) August 28, 2020
TE Dalton Schultz has looked good. He’s not going to replace Blake Jarwin but he has shown some more ability in the passing game than he did his first two seasons. With Jarwin, Schultz and Blake Bell, the tight ends should be OK.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 26, 2020
When he was drafted in the 4th round in 2018, Dalton came to Dallas with a similar scouting report to Jason Witten's rookie year. While nobody expects him to ever develop into a legend, Schultz does have a balanced game with both receiving and blocking ability.
Blake Bell is primarily a blocker. It was enough to get him on the field for almost 38% of the Chiefs' offensive snaps last year, but also limited him to just 15 targets in the passing game.
Given Bell's more limited skill set, these strong showings as a receiver in camp are big for Dalton Schultz. As long as he's competent as a blocker, he allows for more options in play-calling and more ways to confuse a defense.
Schultz still has two years left on his rookie deal, adding to Dallas' incentive to make him a bigger part of the offense. They could go into the next two seasons having the top two spots on the TE depth chart figured out.
Over the last few years we've seen the way Blake Jarwin was able to impact games even from a backup role. Now that he's the starter it will benefit the offense if there's another playmaker in the group. Hopefully, Dalton Schultz is finally delivering and will provide value in 2020.