The Cowboys for the first time in 15 years are entering a season without long-term veteran TE Jason Witten. Replacing Witten will not be a simple task for the Cowboys, and it will take time to develop the kind of talent he brought to Dallas. The 11x pro bowler, missing only one game out of his 15-year stint with the Cowboys and finishing his career with 12,448 receiving yards and 68 TDs brought more than just stats to the TE position. Witten within the Cowboys locker room was a leader and a motivator among his teammates. You can always draft for talent, but the qualities as mentioned earlier are a rarer find amongst players. Nonetheless, the Cowboys are needing to find someone to step up at the TE spot with Witten riding off into the sunset for Canton.
Most Likely Starter: Geoff Swaim now entering his 3rd year with the Cowboys is the expected starter, mostly due to being the only TE on the roster to see actual game time. Swaim is not going to be an explosive guy off the line but is going to be that security blanket for Dak by running some short routes and getting those 5-10 yards when needed. Swaim is more known for his blocking ability, whether it be run or pass blocking you can count on him to get the job done.
Training Camp Buzz: Blake Jarwin who went undrafted in the 2017 draft has been generating a lot of buzz in the early stages of training camp. The Cowboys had to promote Jarwin to the active roster last year to keep the Eagles from poaching him from the practice squad. Various outlets and podcasts see Jarwin possibly taking over the starting position from Swaim as the season progresses. Like Swaim, Jarwin is also a skilled blocker, but his ability to create space and get open is what sets him apart as a receiving TE.
Sleeping Giant: Rico Gathers the 6ft6 284 lb freak of nature has been a project the Cowboys are still developing. Gathers a basketball product out of Baylor is now entering his 3rd year with the Cowboys. Gathers before being drafted had not played a down of football since middle school, and the Cowboys have had to take time in working on his blocking and overall learning of the game. Gathers had shown his natural talent throughout last years preseason but was sidelined for the remainder due to injury. Gathers is a natural pass catching TE possibly the best on the current roster, for as big as he is Gathers has excellent speed and elusiveness to accompany his receiving skills.
Untested Rookie: Rookie Dalton Schultz will be the TE with much to prove as we head into the preseason. He was not primarily used as a receiving TE in college but has shown little bursts of potential in camp. We can expect to get a better evaluation of the 5th round draft pick come preseason.
With the first preseason game coming next Thursday the position battle at the TE spot will be an exciting one to watch for the Cowboys.