The Dallas Cowboys drafted Gavin Escobar in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft thinking he would be the eventual replacement for Jason Witten. In his rookie season, Escobar’s role stayed at a minim because of his ineptitude in the running game. Although Escobar doesn’t have top-end speed, the San Diego State product screams athleticism and versatility. Escobar is the type of player that can contribute as an in-line tight end or as a receiver on the outside. With Witten on the decline, Escobar will have a golden opportunity to break out in 2014.
At last year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Escobar showed off his explosiveness. Coming into the NFL at 6’6″, 255 pounds, Escobar had the frame to put on muscle. One year later, Escobar has reportedly bulked up. Witten told reporters how Escobar got stronger and he improved with his run-blocking ability. His lack of speed hurts him now, but there was a time when Witten was the best blocking tight end in the league.
The main thing that jumps out with Escobar to me is his explosiveness. Escobar has a 32″ vertical jump. When you look at his size and his leaping ability, Escobar has a huge catch-radius and he has the tools to develop into one of the best red-zone targets in all of football. Something also to remember is Scott Linehan is taking over as the play-caller and he loves to spread the field. Escobar provides matchup nightmares for defense and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Linehan have a liking for Escobar.
With the expanded role and the improvements in the bad parts of his game, Escobar has a shot to show Cowboy fans that he was worth the second-round pick. There was a reason why Jerry Jones was so high on this kid and it should only be a matter of time until they see how special he really is. Football is still months away, but you guys can salivate over Escobar’s Week 17 touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles below.