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Don't Expect Miracles in 2014 Cowboys Draft


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#1 greggtxsports

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:05 PM

This is going to be a very important draft for the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Of course, saying a draft for any NFL team is very important is sort of like saying that NFL owners like money. It should be something everyone already understands on an instinctual level. The draft is the primary way that all teams should build the roster, especially with the rookie pay scale currently in effect.

 

Undeniably, though, the Cowboys have myriad positions of need to address in the draft. Some positions that are on the list: defensive tackle, offensive tackle, defensive end, safety, defensive line, offensive guard, defensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, quarterback, defensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive line, defensive line, defensive line, cornerback, defensive line, Spam, and defensive line. Oh, did I mention defensive line?

 

At the moment, Dallas has eight draft picks (three of them in the seventh round) and is awaiting the awarding of compensatory picks, which is expected to add up to three more selections, most likely also in the seventh. With the modest haul so far in free agency, where the Cowboys have only found three players to sign, and then promptly threw one back into the free agent pond, the draft is of even greater importance to the Cowboys than to most teams. Many fans are hoping they "carpet bomb" the defensive line positions in the draft and find several starters.

 

There is one problem with that theory. Unless you have loaded up on draft picks in the first and second round, the chances of finding multiple rookie starters are really, really poor. Generally, you expect first-round picks to be able to step in and start or at least play right away. After that, it is a lot less likely that players can do so. Second-round picks sometimes, third-rounders occasionally, and any later round or UDFA players who can start are very rare. If you get two immediate and successful starters out of a draft, you have done remarkably well. If you get three, put that draft in a vault, because it is pure, 24K drafting gold.

 

For most rookies in the NFL, the plan is that they become backups, see some playing time in relief, and use the first year to hone their skills and grow into the NFL game. If you find yourself having to lean on too many of your rookies, things are not likely to go well. Just look at what happened to Dallas last year.

 

Fredbeard, of course, was everything we hoped for and a bit more at center. Escobar, despite all the people who still want their money back for his pick, actually had a season like you would expect from a second-rounder. Practiced, learned, got one chance to start. The team didn't lean on him, and now we can really hope to see more from him in his sophomore season.

 

Terrance Williams was clearly a win. He came in, and when Miles Austin hit a light crosswind and was injured, Williams made him expendable. He still needs to improve his game, of course, but that is what OTAs and camp are about.

 

Wilcox was not a win. It is obvious he was thrust into a role he was not ready for. He was certainly not ready to start five games. But this does not mean he was a bad pick. As a late third-rounder, and the fourth player taken by Dallas, he should not have been expected to handle a starting job well, especially after he missed two weeks of camp due to the sad loss of his mother. Hopefully he will come back stronger this year, which is the hope you have for all your second-year players.

 

Webb was another player who had what could be considered an expected rookie year. He saw the field, where his weaknesses were exposed, and now he can try to improve and keep his roster spot.

 

Randle also had a somewhat normal situation. Running back is one of the positions in which it is not at all unusual to see a rookie, even a third-day selection, come in and play well. He kept things afloat while DeMarco Murray missed a couple of games, but fortunately Murray had his best season as a pro and Randle wasn't needed more.

 

Holloman also did well, but this should be seen as a very pleasant surprise. Sixth-round picks are not even considered highly likely to make the team, much less start contributing significantly in their first year. How good is he? There is speculation that he may be considered to take over the Mike position and move Sean Lee to the Will linebacker to try and keep Lee healthy. If not, he is going to be competing with Bruce Carter as a Will or Kyle Wilber as a Sam to become a starter. Should he not win a starting job, he is still pretty much a roster lock as a primary backup, likely at more than one position.

 

And that brings us to Heath, who was beaten up on the field, in social media, and in the comment threads here. A kid from a small school who made the roster against all expectations, and then got thrown into starting as a safety on an already beaten-up defense for over half his rookie year. What else would you expect other than being overwhelmed. The jury has to still be out on whether he will turn into a good player, because he simply did not have a fair chance.

 

Eight rookies, who accumulated 43 starts. Even if you take out Frederick's 16, the resulting 27 is still a lot of starts to get from players who should not be expected to be NFL starting material right out of the gate.

 

Dallas will likely have 11 picks this draft, pending any trades, with six of those picks likely in the seventh round. People are hoping for two or three starters. Those seventh-rounders are all going to be a lot more like Jeff Heath than Travis Frederick or Terrance Williams. Be ready for it.

 

Frankly, if half the seventh-round picks wind up making the roster this year, Dallas will be doing better than the odds say they should. They are not going to find starters there, unless they just get incredibly lucky. You can't even say that finding a starter with a seventh-round pick was great scouting, because if he is an NFL starter as a rookie, why did the team not pick him earlier?

 

No, the Cowboys want a starter in the first round, and then they are just looking for depth or, at best, rotational players. This is why free agency is still very much a time the team needs to find help for the problems it has. (Did I mention the defensive line?)

 

You build a team through the draft but a roster is not built in three days in Radio City Music Hall. That is just how you get the raw materials. Some players are ready when they hit the ground, but others will take months or even years to start paying back on the investment of a draft pick, and some will never cut it, especially those late round flyers.

 

Don't get your hopes up for the draft to instantly fix things. It is not going to happen. It needs to help, but you need to keep your feet on the ground, your eyes on the objective, and your Spam out of the dirt.

 

http://www.bloggingt...expect-miracles


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#2 johnny23

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:20 PM

This is what I believe as well that we need to just use these picks for depth and bring them along slowly. The cream always rises to the top so to speak and let everything work itself out into training camp. The best we can hope for is that we hit on 3 or 4 of these guys going forward. 


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#3 haleyrules

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:43 PM

With Jerry making the decisions, its better not to expect anything.
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#4 Taste My Scythe

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:56 PM

Let's not forget that this years draft is extremley deep...maybe the deepest ever.Some of the late round projections will become RFA that otherwise would have been drafted.

For me that makes this draft even more important for the Cowboys to have a very good draft and not screw the pooch,so to speak. 

I feel that on draft weekend that Jerry needs to be blindfolded,bound and gagged,and beating with a stick if he even attempts to walk into the war room.


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#5 cnuball21

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:44 AM

This is going to be a very important draft for the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Of course, saying a draft for any NFL team is very important is sort of like saying that NFL owners like money. It should be something everyone already understands on an instinctual level. The draft is the primary way that all teams should build the roster, especially with the rookie pay scale currently in effect.

 

Undeniably, though, the Cowboys have myriad positions of need to address in the draft. Some positions that are on the list: defensive tackle, offensive tackle, defensive end, safety, defensive line, offensive guard, defensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, quarterback, defensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive line, defensive line, defensive line, cornerback, defensive line, Spam, and defensive line. Oh, did I mention defensive line?

 

At the moment, Dallas has eight draft picks (three of them in the seventh round) and is awaiting the awarding of compensatory picks, which is expected to add up to three more selections, most likely also in the seventh. With the modest haul so far in free agency, where the Cowboys have only found three players to sign, and then promptly threw one back into the free agent pond, the draft is of even greater importance to the Cowboys than to most teams. Many fans are hoping they "carpet bomb" the defensive line positions in the draft and find several starters.

 

There is one problem with that theory. Unless you have loaded up on draft picks in the first and second round, the chances of finding multiple rookie starters are really, really poor. Generally, you expect first-round picks to be able to step in and start or at least play right away. After that, it is a lot less likely that players can do so. Second-round picks sometimes, third-rounders occasionally, and any later round or UDFA players who can start are very rare. If you get two immediate and successful starters out of a draft, you have done remarkably well. If you get three, put that draft in a vault, because it is pure, 24K drafting gold.

 

For most rookies in the NFL, the plan is that they become backups, see some playing time in relief, and use the first year to hone their skills and grow into the NFL game. If you find yourself having to lean on too many of your rookies, things are not likely to go well. Just look at what happened to Dallas last year.

 

Fredbeard, of course, was everything we hoped for and a bit more at center. Escobar, despite all the people who still want their money back for his pick, actually had a season like you would expect from a second-rounder. Practiced, learned, got one chance to start. The team didn't lean on him, and now we can really hope to see more from him in his sophomore season.

 

Terrance Williams was clearly a win. He came in, and when Miles Austin hit a light crosswind and was injured, Williams made him expendable. He still needs to improve his game, of course, but that is what OTAs and camp are about.

 

Wilcox was not a win. It is obvious he was thrust into a role he was not ready for. He was certainly not ready to start five games. But this does not mean he was a bad pick. As a late third-rounder, and the fourth player taken by Dallas, he should not have been expected to handle a starting job well, especially after he missed two weeks of camp due to the sad loss of his mother. Hopefully he will come back stronger this year, which is the hope you have for all your second-year players.

 

Webb was another player who had what could be considered an expected rookie year. He saw the field, where his weaknesses were exposed, and now he can try to improve and keep his roster spot.

 

Randle also had a somewhat normal situation. Running back is one of the positions in which it is not at all unusual to see a rookie, even a third-day selection, come in and play well. He kept things afloat while DeMarco Murray missed a couple of games, but fortunately Murray had his best season as a pro and Randle wasn't needed more.

 

Holloman also did well, but this should be seen as a very pleasant surprise. Sixth-round picks are not even considered highly likely to make the team, much less start contributing significantly in their first year. How good is he? There is speculation that he may be considered to take over the Mike position and move Sean Lee to the Will linebacker to try and keep Lee healthy. If not, he is going to be competing with Bruce Carter as a Will or Kyle Wilber as a Sam to become a starter. Should he not win a starting job, he is still pretty much a roster lock as a primary backup, likely at more than one position.

 

And that brings us to Heath, who was beaten up on the field, in social media, and in the comment threads here. A kid from a small school who made the roster against all expectations, and then got thrown into starting as a safety on an already beaten-up defense for over half his rookie year. What else would you expect other than being overwhelmed. The jury has to still be out on whether he will turn into a good player, because he simply did not have a fair chance.

 

Eight rookies, who accumulated 43 starts. Even if you take out Frederick's 16, the resulting 27 is still a lot of starts to get from players who should not be expected to be NFL starting material right out of the gate.

 

Dallas will likely have 11 picks this draft, pending any trades, with six of those picks likely in the seventh round. People are hoping for two or three starters. Those seventh-rounders are all going to be a lot more like Jeff Heath than Travis Frederick or Terrance Williams. Be ready for it.

 

Frankly, if half the seventh-round picks wind up making the roster this year, Dallas will be doing better than the odds say they should. They are not going to find starters there, unless they just get incredibly lucky. You can't even say that finding a starter with a seventh-round pick was great scouting, because if he is an NFL starter as a rookie, why did the team not pick him earlier?

 

No, the Cowboys want a starter in the first round, and then they are just looking for depth or, at best, rotational players. This is why free agency is still very much a time the team needs to find help for the problems it has. (Did I mention the defensive line?)

 

You build a team through the draft but a roster is not built in three days in Radio City Music Hall. That is just how you get the raw materials. Some players are ready when they hit the ground, but others will take months or even years to start paying back on the investment of a draft pick, and some will never cut it, especially those late round flyers.

 

Don't get your hopes up for the draft to instantly fix things. It is not going to happen. It needs to help, but you need to keep your feet on the ground, your eyes on the objective, and your Spam out of the dirt.

 

http://www.bloggingt...expect-miracles

 

 

Good post except for 2 things.

 

1. If you're going  to draft a TE as early as the 2nd round, he better bring some kind of impact. Escobar brought practically nothing o the table. That's why I was so against the pick. The Skins got Reed a round later and he had 45 grabs for 500 yards. We really effed up with that pick, especially considering some of the DL/OL talent that was available. One of the worst picks I can remember.

 

2. The expectations for Wilcox should have been low. I didn't expect him to see much playing time. Small school and DB is difficult to transition into. He still has a bright future IMO.


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#6 zack8051

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:09 AM

I think Escobar will be fine, kinda hard to get playing time when you have Witten in front of you; he needs some time to develop same with Wilcox.

Just because a player is a top 10 pick doesn’t mean he’s a starter, some positions are harder to transition into than others, how many times have we seen this in the past, there are no guarantees, there are plenty of players taken in later rounds that have become great.  I don’t get all giggly about trading up in the draft, typically , we give up to much to do so. This is the deepest draft ever and if our coaches and scouts are doing their jobs correctly and Jerry listens, it would be almost impossible to totally screw this one up  


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#7 Seaver0723

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:30 AM

Good post except for 2 things.

 

1. If you're going  to draft a TE as early as the 2nd round, he better bring some kind of impact. Escobar brought practically nothing o the table. That's why I was so against the pick. The Skins got Reed a round later and he had 45 grabs for 500 yards. We really effed up with that pick, especially considering some of the DL/OL talent that was available. One of the worst picks I can remember.

 

2. The expectations for Wilcox should have been low. I didn't expect him to see much playing time. Small school and DB is difficult to transition into. He still has a bright future IMO.

I get what you are saying, but you have to remember that Escobar had Witten in front of him and who does Reed have in front of him?  If Escobar had been a starter from day one he probably matches those stats.  I didn't like the pick either because I felt like it was a luxury pick but I do think he will continue to improve and make a much bigger impact this year.


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#8 cnuball21

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:38 AM

I get what you are saying, but you have to remember that Escobar had Witten in front of him and who does Reed have in front of him?  If Escobar had been a starter from day one he probably matches those stats.  I didn't like the pick either because I felt like it was a luxury pick but I do think he will continue to improve and make a much bigger impact this year.

 

The opposing arguement to my viewpoint is we're drafting Witten's replacement. Well, if that's the case then why not draft a complete TE? Escobar has good hands and a wide catching radius and that's about it. Poor speed and he's weak.

 

Why not draft Eifert in the first and Freds in the 2nd or just take Vance McDonald or Travis Kelce? I think that would've been dumb also but it's smarter than taking Escobar.


I'm very open minded and try to have perspective on what the Cowboys do in the draft but Escobar was flat out dumb.


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#9 Seaver0723

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 02:42 AM

The opposing arguement to my viewpoint is we're drafting Witten's replacement. Well, if that's the case then why not draft a complete TE? Escobar has good hands and a wide catching radius and that's about it. Poor speed and he's weak.

 

Why not draft Eifert in the first and Freds in the 2nd or just take Vance McDonald or Travis Kelce? I think that would've been dumb also but it's smarter than taking Escobar.


I'm very open minded and try to have perspective on what the Cowboys do in the draft but Escobar was flat out dumb.

Oh we absolutely agree that the Escobar pick was not a smart one, I was just saying you can't exactly compare him to Reed because Reed has nobody in front of him. Now that he has a star on the side of his hemet I want him to succeed and I think he will, but I don't think he was the right position to draft for last year...especially not in the 2nd round.  


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#10 Cowboysheels049

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 03:06 AM

Unless Jerry is bringing JJ back for the draft, have no confidence in the boozer to do the right thing.

#11 Phillyboijr

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:13 AM

Escobar was brought in with the idea of running the 2-TE "12" package predominantly as the base offense going into last season. That's not just speculation, but straight from Jerry and Garrett's mouths' at different point in the offseason last year.

 

So, the "he can't do much behind Witten" apologetic is off the mark.  He wasn't brought in here to compete with Witten.

 

Whether it was Escobar's inability to earn snaps or a coaching decision, who knows, but even Jerry remarked after the season that he was disappointed they didn't get him involved more. 

 

I happen to think it was a little bit of both.  I don't think Escobar was anywhere near close to being ready to playing NFL football in the role they imagined him.  I would also wager good money had Escobar been on a team like the Patriots, Belicheck would have for darn sure maximized whatever it is Escobar does best and gotten a lot more production out of him.  That speaks to Garrett's lack of creativity and reluctance to think outside the box IMO.


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#12 Ryanvt

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:15 AM

Good post except for 2 things.

1. If you're going to draft a TE as early as the 2nd round, he better bring some kind of impact. Escobar brought practically nothing o the table. That's why I was so against the pick. The Skins got Reed a round later and he had 45 grabs for 500 yards. We really effed up with that pick, especially considering some of the DL/OL talent that was available. One of the worst picks I can remember.

2. The expectations for Wilcox should have been low. I didn't expect him to see much playing time. Small school and DB is difficult to transition into. He still has a bright future IMO.


Did Escobar bring nothing to the table or did are coaches not use him right to where he could of brought something to the table? I never saw them throw a ball up to Escobar in the red zone and use his size.
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#13 Cummingswill22

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:54 AM

Let's not forget that this years draft is extremley deep...maybe the deepest ever.Some of the late round projections will become RFA that otherwise would have been drafted.

For me that makes this draft even more important for the Cowboys to have a very good draft and not screw the pooch,so to speak. 

I feel that on draft weekend that Jerry needs to be blindfolded,bound and gagged,and beating with a stick if he even attempts to walk into the war room.

lol...I agree!!! Chloroformed...lol...just until its over.



#14 Cummingswill22

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:58 AM

Did Escobar bring nothing to the table or did are coaches not use him right to where he could of brought something to the table? I never saw them throw a ball up to Escobar in the red zone and use his size.

Escobar is solid. He was a rookie and Terrance Williams is a rising star as well. Simply, we couldn't give the ball to him as much because of dez and Williams...witten. That's all it was. I feel he is more useful down in the redzone. I am fine where we selected escobar. Witten won't be here in a year...and hanna is also a nice player.


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#15 zack8051

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:54 PM

Escobar was brought in with the idea of running the 2-TE "12" package predominantly as the base offense going into last season. That's not just speculation, but straight from Jerry and Garrett's mouths' at different point in the offseason last year.

 

So, the "he can't do much behind Witten" apologetic is off the mark.  He wasn't brought in here to compete with Witten.

 

Whether it was Escobar's inability to earn snaps or a coaching decision, who knows, but even Jerry remarked after the season that he was disappointed they didn't get him involved more. 

 

I happen to think it was a little bit of both.  I don't think Escobar was anywhere near close to being ready to playing NFL football in the role they imagined him.  I would also wager good money had Escobar been on a team like the Patriots, Belicheck would have for darn sure maximized whatever it is Escobar does best and gotten a lot more production out of him.  That speaks to Garrett's lack of creativity and reluctance to think outside the box IMO.

Your almost right, Escobar is weak at blocking, so he was never going to have any impact this past year because he was never given a chance to maxamize his best skill sets..........size hands and running routes. The defense was so bad and exposed = predictable, the offense was always on the run or should I say the pass.



#16 cnuball21

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 02:22 PM

Did Escobar bring nothing to the table or did are coaches not use him right to where he could of brought something to the table? I never saw them throw a ball up to Escobar in the red zone and use his size.

 

Both. Taking coaching out of it though the pick was terrible.


Escobar was brought in with the idea of running the 2-TE "12" package predominantly as the base offense going into last season. That's not just speculation, but straight from Jerry and Garrett's mouths' at different point in the offseason last year.

 

So, the "he can't do much behind Witten" apologetic is off the mark.  He wasn't brought in here to compete with Witten.

 

Whether it was Escobar's inability to earn snaps or a coaching decision, who knows, but even Jerry remarked after the season that he was disappointed they didn't get him involved more. 

 

I happen to think it was a little bit of both.  I don't think Escobar was anywhere near close to being ready to playing NFL football in the role they imagined him.  I would also wager good money had Escobar been on a team like the Patriots, Belicheck would have for darn sure maximized whatever it is Escobar does best and gotten a lot more production out of him.  That speaks to Garrett's lack of creativity and reluctance to think outside the box IMO.

 

 

good stuff



#17 1starmakerD

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 02:51 PM

Escobar is solid. He was a rookie and Terrance Williams is a rising star as well. Simply, we couldn't give the ball to him as much because of dez and Williams...witten. That's all it was. I feel he is more useful down in the redzone. I am fine where we selected escobar. Witten won't be here in a year...and hanna is also a nice player.


Hanna IS Escobar. They are basically the same player. So why draft a player you already have in the 2nd round. They would have been much better served drafting a blocking TE in round 5-6. That selection was horrible. A misallocation of a valuable asset.
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#18 Taste My Scythe

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 03:57 PM

Escobar is solid. He was a rookie and Terrance Williams is a rising star as well. Simply, we couldn't give the ball to him as much because of dez and Williams...witten. That's all it was. I feel he is more useful down in the redzone. I am fine where we selected escobar. Witten won't be here in a year...and hanna is also a nice player.

I agree...Escobar will develope into a nice player.He has excellent hands and he is learning how to play the position from one of the best ever.Sure,Escobar isn't the fleetest of foot,but either is/was Witten.Escobar will learn how to use his body better to shield defenders and how to run crisp routes...and I'm sure he'll devolope into a decent blocker.But,in todays passing game recieving TE's are not asked to do that as much anymore.

Plus,let's not lose sight that when players are drafted they're looked at as "future" contributors.I do understand that 1st rounders are looked at to be an immadiate impact now days,but that wasn't the case with Escobar.Realistically how many of you expected him to step right on the field and all of the sudden we had Gronk/Hernandez pt.2? Regardless to how Jerry painted a pretty picture of how the 12 package would look,the truth is that Escobar wasn't phyically and mentally ready for such a big role in his rookie season. But,this season I expect a little more from him and for sure by his third year we will know if he was worth being selected in the 2nd round.  


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#19 1starmakerD

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 04:02 PM

I agree...Escobar will develope into a nice player.He has excellent hands and he is learning how to play the position from one of the best ever.Sure,Escobar isn't the fleetest of foot,but either is/was Witten.Escobar will learn how to use his body better to shield defenders and how to run crips routes...and I'm sure he'll devolope into a decent blocker.But,in todays passing game recieving TE's are not asked to do that as much anymore.
Plus,let's not lose sight that when players are drafted they're looked at as "future" contributors.I do understand that 1st rounders are looked at to be an impact now days,but that wasn't the case with Escobar.Realistically how many of you expected him to step right on the field and all of the sudden we had Gronk/Hernandez pt.2? Regardless to how Jerry painted a pretty picture of how the 12 package would look,the truth is that Escobar wasn't phyically and mentally ready for such a big role in his rookie season. But,this season I expect a little more from him and for sure by his third year we will know if he was worth being selected in the 2nd round.

But then you have so many here expecting great production out of the rookies you draft this year. Which is it?
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#20 Taste My Scythe

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:17 PM

But then you have so many here expecting great production out of the rookies you draft this year. Which is it?

I'm not sure what you mean by "which is it"?


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