It is a good time for tight ends in the NFL, and James Hanna knows it.
“There’s so many teams really looking to use tight ends, even multiple tight ends, so I couldn’t be happier with the time that I’m in the league, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he said Saturday after the Cowboys took him in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
The former Flower Mound High School star was the 186th pick of the three-day draft, and one of only two offensive players the Cowboys took. He was the fastest tight end at the NFL combine and also led tight ends at the combine in the 20-yard shuttle, three-cone drill, vertical jump and broad jump.
“My strengths are that I’m very fast, I’m good with the ball after I catch it, and I’m very coachable and I like to learn technique and the reasons behind why we’re doing certain things and with certain positions,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not at a starting tight end level, so I just need to improve in every way so I can be the best I can be.”
At Oklahoma, Hanna caught 52 passes for 720 yards and nine touchdowns after coming out of Flower Mound as a three-star receiver.
“I think I’m pretty versatile,” he said. “Whatever the play call is, I feel comfortable moving around, motioning, in line with my hand down or lined up as a receiver. I feel like I’m pretty well-rounded.”
Hanna said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is his role model.
“I’ve grown up all through football, since I’ve been playing, a Cowboys fan just watching him,” Hanna said. “He’s a great player, and I’m really looking forward to getting to learn from him.”
-- Carlos Mendez