The need for help at the tight end position for the Dallas Cowboys is obivious. Unforunately, it appears that time may have run on signing a big name free agent, because the possibilities are dwindling fast.
Ken Dilger, once coveted by several teams has now officially been knocked out the running because of a bad knee. Freddie Jones just signed a to a three-year, $5.1 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals, and Stephen Alexander went with the Chargers for five years, $15 million. Outside of Byron Chamberlain, who is likely to resign with the Minnesota Vikings, there just isn't a whole lot of talent out there.
Fortunately, if ever there was a year for tight ends in the draft, this would be it. There will likely be at least two that go in the first round, and possibly 2 or 3 more in the second- which has been almost unheard of over the course of the last 20 years.
The names that are available have already been well documented. Daniel Graham (Colordo) and Jeremy Shockey (Miami) will likely be the first two tight ends taken on April 20th. The interesting part of the equation is the fact that this year, the Cowboys have their highest draft pick in over 10 years at the number six position. And if you know anything about the NFL draft, you know that is just too high a pick to spend on a tight end. Consequently, that leaves Dallas with two possible scenarios:
1) Trade down and take Shockey or Graham later in the first round.
2) Take a tight end in the second round.
And as rumors continue to run rampant around Valley Ranch, it appears that it all could come down to whether or not Quinten Jammer is available at the number six pick.
If he is- it seems very likely that the Cowboys will draft him. Jones has openly expressed interest in Jammer, and he is one of the 11 athletes that has been invited for an indepth workout to Valley Ranch in the next couple of weeks.
If Jammer is unavailable, well then that's where things could get quite interesting. Jerry apparently isn't too high on Miami's Phillip Buchanon, who most experts consider the second best cornerback in the draft, and he probably isn't going to go with another DB at the number six position. In all likelihood, we'll see the Cowboys trade down and take a tight end later in the first round.
If that ends up being the case, you can feel confident in knowing that the Cowboys will grab one of two of the more talented tight ends to come out of college football in last 5 years. Graham and Shockey have both demonstrated their unparalleled talents on and off the field through the combines over the course of the last few weeks.
Whatever happens, you certainly don't want to go into next season with James Whalen being your starting tight end. Whalen, a fifth round draft pick back in 1999 has seen his stock steadily fall since leaving the University of Kentucky a year early.
Back up tight end Jeff Robinson, who recently signed with the Cowboys after a stint with the St. Louis Rams, is really nothing more than a second string guy and consistent long snapper.
If Jerry Jones is able to draft Jammer with the #6 pick, then look for him to go after either Matt Schobel (TCU) or Tracey Wistrom (Nebraska) in second round, that is unless Graham or Shockey somehow slip through the cracks.
Regardless, something will happen with the tight end situation this offseason, because the Cowboys simply can't afford not to make a move.
For more information on tight ends, check out the following link: Official Combine Results: Tight Ends.
Draft a Tight End Jerry
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