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August 12, 2013

Gavin Escobar has been quiet so far, but Cowboys insist second-round pick is "developing"

The Cowboys have high hopes for Gavin Escobar. It is the reason they drafted him in the second round. But the rookie is going through what most rookies go through as they try to adapt to the pro game.

"He’s developing. He really is," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s a natural pass catcher. He can run routes and get away from people. He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities in games to do that up to this point. The thing where he’s getting better and better is blocking, both as a run blocker and as a pass protector. That’s not his strength coning into this thing, but he has the traits physically to be able to do that. He’s got to get stronger. He knows that; we know that. He just has to keep working at it. But one of the things I have been impressed with has been his nastiness and his toughness. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there in any facet of the game, and that’s a good sign."

Escobar's strength is his pass-catching abilities. But he has played 60 plays in two games and has one catch for 3 yards. He insists he is not frustrated by the lack of opportunities.

"I come out here and work and just try and get better," Escobar said. "The catches, those kind of take care of themselves. I can’t be thinking about that when I’m out here playing."

Escobar was not asked to block much at San Diego State, and he admits it is a weakness he is working hard to improve. Pro Football Focus has 67 tight ends ranked, based on their play in the preseason. Escobar is 67th, with his run blocking the worst among the players on the list.

But Escobar said his blocking has improved and will continue to improve the more reps he gets.

"It definitely has improved since OTAs, training camp and from training camp to now," Escobar said. "I work on it every day and try and take pride in it. It’s definitely gotten better. But you’ve always got to improve.

"It’s really all technique. You can move a guy who’s bigger than you or hold him up at least with the right technique. So that’s what it’s all about, getting the right technique, footwork all the time and being consistent with that."

-- Charean Williams




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