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Dallas Cowboys pre-training camp position breakdown series, looking at the tight ends

The Dallas Cowboys have a variety of options at tight end.

It has officially been four years. People who started high school or college (generally) have walked the stage and received their diplomas in the time since.

Obviously I am talking about since Jason Witten played tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.

Gold Jacket Witt last suited up for America’s Team in 2019 in the season where he returned from the Monday Night Football booth. It was going to be interesting to see how the Cowboys handled the tight end position given that it was basically the first time in the 21st century that they had a real competition at the position.

From 2020 on we have seen them churn out a variety of options there. There is a lot of credit to go around in this regard starting with the actual players playing the position themselves, but the play-callers (Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy) and quarterback Dak Prescott have all shown an ability to succeed despite different names rolling through over time.

Even though it sounds like we are talking about a significant length of time it is still only a four-year sample. Blake Jarwin was intended to be the face of it at its beginning but Dalton Schultz quickly ascended to the throne. Last year provided a new opportunity for someone to stake their claim and Jake Ferguson did so admirably which makes us feel good about where things stand this summer.

We are in the process of rolling out our roster breakdown series in the lead-up to training camp and today if it isn’t obvious we are taking a look at the tight end group. You can visit any exercise that we have done already right below. I also drop videos discussing these every Tuesday and Thursday on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel.

Jake Ferguson

There wasn’t a full buy-in on Jake Ferguson as the answer for the Cowboys at tight end prior to the start of last season. It wasn’t necessarily a lack of belief in Ferguson specifically as much as it seemed like he was just the next man up on the depth chart in Dalton Schultz’s departure.

To his credit, Ferguson proved any doubters wrong and became a tried and true part of the offense that saw the Cowboys have as much success that they did throughout the season. He only caught five touchdowns which was a dip from Schultz’s best season with the team (eight in 2021) but he certainly proved to be a starting-caliber player.

In a non-measurable sense, Ferguson also proved to be that guy within the Cowboys offense, the one who was willing to hit a different gear and get in the face of opponents in a different way. He was all over Jamal Adams when the Cowboys played the Seattle Seahawks right after Thanksgiving and dudes like that are a welcome and necessary part of an overall operation.

Even though Ferguson “only” scored five touchdowns, he was highly productive from a yardage standpoint. He reached the 750 yard receiving mark which has not happened all too often in franchise history outside of the aforementioned Schultz season and basically all of the time for Jason Witten.

He is as cemented of a starter as there can be on this roster. If we agreed to put superstars like CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons in their own tier, then there is an argument to be made that Ferguson occupies the next level of airspace.

Ultimately the situation at tight end has nothing to do with Ferguson, but behind him lies a few questions.

Luke Schoonmaker

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