OXNARD, Calif. - Of the top three draftees the Dallas Cowboys selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, Gavin Escobar ranked No. 1. No Cowboys draft pick was ripped more than this tight end from San Diego State.
The Cowboys drafted him with the 47th overall pick because they were going to run more two-tight end sets, etc. But as the 2013 season evolved, they used the two tight-end sets with less frequency, and Escobar was nearly invisible.
He played in all 16 games, and caught nine passes for 134 yards with two touchdowns. He scored on a 17-yard touchdown catch in the Cowboys' regular-season finale against the Eagles. Because he plays behind Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, no one was expecting big numbers from Escobar last season, but there should be more.
"Having one year of being in an NFL offense does make it easier," he told me. "I knew the ball is not going to come to everyone all the time. I tried to take advantage of the opportunities I did have. I do want to be more productive in the offense. Just being more involved. No set number in my mind."
It is still far too early to label this man a bust. With Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and DeMarco Murray, Escobar may be a fifth-option. Maybe.
At 6-foot-6, Escobar should be a decent red-zone option. He is athletic, and poses major matchup problems ... in theory. The problem is he obviously had a hard time adjusting last season to getting open, getting off the line, and holding blocks. It would be nice if he developed into the type of blocker Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett was.
What Escobar just does need to do is develop, and be in a position to replace Jason Witten, 32. Witten has shown no signs of slowing down, but age will eventually win. When that day comes, that's when it can be determined if Escobar is a dreaded bust.
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