Among many young prospects waiting for a chance to shine in Dallas is Tight End Dalton Schultz. Now entering his third year, could Schultz finally have a larger role in the Cowboys' offense in 2020?
Since being taken with a late fourth-round pick in 2018, Schultz has been stuck behind other players for most of his career thus far. As a rookie it was Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin, and then last year Jason Witten came out of retirement to keep Schultz buried on the depth chart.
While being undrafted, Jarwin joined the Cowboys in 2017 and had that year on Schultz for earning the coaches' attention and trust. So between Blake's development and the presence of the two veterans, Dalton just hasn't been able to get on the field much.
Schultz's best opportunities came in 2018 after Swaim went out injured, leaving him as the number-two TE behind Jarwin. But he used more as a blocker then and only got 17 targets all season.
Last year, with Witten and Jarwin clogging up the works, Schultz only had two passes thrown his way despite being active in all 16 games. He went from playing 28% of the Cowboys' offense snaps in 2018 to just 10% last season.
Now Witten and Jarwin are both free agents, albeit Blake is only in restricted status. Still, will this lead to Dalton Schultz finally getting a real opportunity in 2020?
It doesn't appear that Jason Witten is return to the Cowboys. While still beloved by the Jones family. Witten doesn't have Jason Garrett around anymore and isn't close to being the same player on the field. If he wants to keep playing then it looks like it will have to be with another team.
Are the Cowboys ready to turn the job over to Blake Jarwin? He's certainly shown potential as a receiver but is a limited blocker. But the one-two combination of Jarwin and Schultz, who is solid in blocking, could be sufficient for the 2020 offense.
It really is a trickle-down effect for Dalton at this point. If Dallas relies on Jarwin as TE1 then they may be fine with Schultz as the backup, two years after having the same combination for the latter portion of the 2018 season.
But if the Cowboys, especially with new Head Coach Mike McCarthy, have a changing vision for the TE position then Schultz and even Jarwin could be on the losing end of that shift.
We've talked a lot about various young Cowboys from recent drafts who are waiting for their opportunities. Dalton joins a list with CB Jourdan Lewis, G/C Connor McGovern, DE Dorance Armstrong, and others who Dallas may need to step into larger roles in 2020.
With all the praise that swirls around Will McClay and the Cowboys front office for the modern era of drafts, it's time for some of these young mid-round picks to start producing. Getting first-round picks right isn't that hard; it's hitting on these 2nd-4th round guys that really builds a championship team.
Will Dalton Schultz get a chance to have a positive impact on the 2020 Cowboys? Or will he once again be stuck behind veterans and shinier new toys?