Main Menu

Cowboy Signs With Chiefs

Gavin Escobar

It’s official. A former Dallas Cowboys player has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s just not the one most people are talking about. If Tony Romo does eventually end up signing with the Chiefs he will have a famalier face to throw the rock at. Free agent, tight end Gavin Escobar has signed with the Chiefs completing a recurring Cowboys theme of high-round NFL Draft pick TE’s languishing on the bench for their entire first contract behind future Hall of Fame TE Jason Witten before signing with another team and (as history has proven) excelling.

Escobar was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by Dallas. After watching the Patriots Gronkowski and Hernandez take the league by storm the year before Jerry Jones was all about the two-TE attack in 2013 and the San Diego State University product was the target the Cowboys chose to implement their vision. It never came to fruition and after watching future pro-bowler Marcus Bennett leave the team after one contract and (eventually) wining his Super Bowl ring in New England the team is again watching critical draft currency (another second round pick) leave the team with (literally) nothing to show for it.

Which brings us to an interesting observation, Jerry Jones burns through second round picks like they don’t count. Especially, though not exclusively at TE.

Bennett came to the Cowboys in 2008 after blowing it up at the NFL Combine. The ‘Boys tabbed Bennett after trading former 2008 second round draft pick TE Anthony Fasano to the Miami Dolphins. Yes, you are seeing a pattern.

At the time Jones touted Bennett as a “new dimension” for the Dallas offense. He said much the same thing when the team tabbed Anthony Fasano and again recently when they selected Escobar. At this juncture it’s fair to ask if Jones has ever discussed with any of the coaching staff about his two-TE vision. It get’s pimped in the media about every four years. It’s never made the field.

Second round draft picks are supposed to give you game day productivity. Fasano in 2006 was followed by Bennett in 2008. Though Bennett did see the field considerably more than Fasano both were poor values when you consider how many snaps they delivered.

In 2010 Dallas selected and redshirted Penn State linebacker Sean Lee. An incredibly talented player who has spent as much time in the training room as on the field. In 2011 the team did the injury selection technique again going with North Carolina LB Bruce Carter who did start for the team and was productive. The team still chose not to resign him after his first contract. Another poor value.

In 2014 the second round gets on a greased sled running downhill for the Cowboys.

2014 DL Demarcus Lawrence. 2015 DL Randy Gregory. 2016 LB Jaylon Smith. Three very talented players who all share one inescapable reality. They are all very, very poor values as second round selections. No matter how talented  a player you are, if you aren’t able to be on the field, you’re a poor draft pick value no matter what round you were selected in. Being a coveted second round pick makes the selection a NFL Draft crime.

LB Jaylon Smith was an incredibly talented LB while at Notre Dame. After missing his entire rookie season Smith is now fitted with a brace which “should” allow him to play. Should. Maybe. Could. Might. Perhaps.

Jerry Jones passed up LB Deion Jones in the second round to select Smith. The team also passed on a handful of talented players at other positions any of whom would have been productive on game day. Rookie LB Jones played, started and excelled in the Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons. At the time of Smith’s selection I lamented passing Jones in order to make the move. Yes, Jaylon Smith was an incredible “value” selection as he was a “potential” top-five pick. Was being the key term. However when you chase “value” that sits on the bench while pro bowl players start for other teams you’ve blown it. When you do it over and over again refusing to learn from your errors then you not only blew it, you are the problem.

Jones will try and sell the Smith pick based on his future potential and his collegiate production. Ignore this slick-Willie con job. Smith is another in a long line of horrible second round, value selections that continue to cripple the Cowboys effort on game day. Remember, we aren’t talking about whether the players are talented or not. They are. We are looking at the number of game day snaps the team receives for their second round NFL Draft pick.

Fasano, Bennett, Carter, Escobar, Lawrence, Gregory, Smith. Seven talented second round picks. Just not for the Dallas Cowboys.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Steven Van Over

Steven Van Over

Analyst, Editor, Photographer, Writer at SportsTalkLine
Editor, Writer, Podcaster & Photographer for @SportsTalkLine Network. I watch sports, I talk about sports then I write about sports. Catch me on Twitter @StevenVanOver
Steven Van Over

  • Joseph Bussard

    What has happened to Rico Gathers? Is he still a practice squad project?

    • Steven Van Over

      Was a 50/50 shot to be activated for playoffs last season. Was tearing it up on the scout team by the end of the year. Big things expected of him this season.

      • Lee1936

        That is welcome news, unexpected and even timely.

  • McShrek

    Romo is retiring, very surprising unless there is more here than meets the eye; but his body will repay him 30 years from now; we never have a good idea just how poorly bodies age once one turns 60…….hope he does not get called by a team during the season, as Troy was by the Dolphins 2/3 years after moving to the booth…..

    • Michael

      This situation is weird and getting weirder. It looks like they may use the same strategy Seattle used on Lynch on place Romo on the reserve/retired list.

  • Yuma Cactus

    A guy using Romo as the QB of the Chiefs just won the Madden Challenge 2017. Maybe Andy Reid should pay attention?

    • Steven Van Over

      That’s some funny stuff.

  • Michael

    Fasano and Bennett were good picks. They are both playing in the NFL this season, Bennett is the more talented of the two but Fasano is a useful piece for an offense. And I think it is quite possible that Escobar finds a productive place in the Chiefs offense as he fits what Reid looks for in a TE. Bruce Carter is still in the league as well.

    Part of the problem here is the coaching staff not developing young players like they should. When you have a steady stream of players leaving your team as “busts” only to find productive homes elsewhere, it is hard to pin all the blame on the scouting staff.

    • Steven Van Over

      I don’t see any of those players labeled as NFL busts, rather players who either didn’t fit the scheme (Escobar as example) and/or took time to mature (Bennett as example) or injury plagued (Lee/Carter examples). As I mentioned I think it would really behoove Jerry to actually discuss his two TE attack scheme with the coaching staff. It’s never seen the field. Once … ok … the coaches maybe… but this is consistent abuse of the 2nd round by drafting players the team decides not to resign for various reasons. That’s not on the coaches my friend. That’s on the front office and their consistent approach to high risk with that pick. Jerry himself touts the approach. He loves it.

      • Michael

        You are conflating two different problems. The scouting staff is consistently picking players who make it to their second, and third, contracts in the NFL. That those guys aren’t a good value for the Cowboys is not the scouting staff’s fault.

        • Steven Van Over

          No. Not at all. Back to the original premise (versus changing the sights to the scouting department) it is clearly an issue with the front office/GM. You were stating it was the coaches. I am pointing finger at GM/front office. Very clearly it’s the job of whomever is picking to get guys who fit the scheme. Poor choices. Poor selections. Poor picks. A good GM/front office is in tune with their coaching staff and understands what they need.

          To be even more clear. It’s not the GM’s fault when the team is unprepared, or there is a bad game plan, etc. That is on the coaching. Signing players is the wheelhouse of the most tenured GM in the biz. That is his domain and since Jimmy left he makes darn tooting everyone knows it. His domain, his job, his responsibility, his goof.

          When you as a GM consistently pick players that you decide don’t deserve a second contract (not the coaches, you) .. then it’s on you. 100%. Jerry did it no matter the coaches once Jimmy left. JJ is the leagues worst GM and has been for years and years. He covers this by (falsely) claiming rights for picks made when he was riding along watching moves Jimmy made and had zero idea about what constitutes a good football move. You know… like now lol.

          You have mentioned before you are not fond of the coaching staffs work with younger players. Me, I think it’s silly to get rid of hall of fame players because your GM was dumb enough to keep using high picks to get backups for a player almost no one you get is going to be good enough to force to the bench. Seems the coaching staff agrees as they keep trotting Witten out there. But look at the list amigo Fasano, Bennett, Carter, Escobar, Lawrence, Gregory, Smith …. Fasano left fully trained. Bennett did as well. Carter … he started. Lawrence, Gregory .. well … they have their own issues and Smith … … which guy did the coaching staff “not develop” … exactly …

          • Michael

            I don’t see any issue with Lawrence other than the trade up to pick him, which is not his fault. The question with Lawrence is is the same as with so many of the Cowboys DL: Why have there been so many lower back injuries under this coaching staff? But he can bend the corner and do the high level stuff you want. Good pick.

            Gregory is a bust. He doesn’t want to play and he is weak. This is on the FO.

            Smith is an open question. He is a gamble that I wouldn’t have taken but we should suspend judgement until this time next season.

            Bruce Carter and Sean Lee were fantastic in Rob Ryan’s scheme. People forget, or have willed themselves to ignore, how good the 2012 Cowboys defense was. Carter was a poor scheme fit in Marinelli’s scheme and he was no better under the same scheme in Tampa. Maybe he will rebound with the Jets. Sean Lee is a natural in a 4-3 as a middle LB, but he would be even more central to the defense if Marinelli’s run defense wasn’t centered on the weakside LB.

            Fasano we will see, but I expect him to play well for the Chiefs. The Cowboys offensive staff never found a place for him.

            Bennett and Fasano have been discussed to death. See above for my opinion.

            There are two philosophies on how to construct a team. The first says you adapt your scheme to your players and try to place each of them in the best position. The second says you have defined roles and you try to find players to fit those roles. The Cowboys are clearly in the second camp, a bit more so on defense than offense. My opinion is that the stubbornness of the coaching staff has led to too much talent wastage – IMO, there should be a metric for “talent wastage.”

          • Steven Van Over

            Very interesting information .. most of which has nothing to do with the original conversation however. “They were all poor picks.” … you seem to keep trying to steer the conversation to “Were they good players?” which is not the subject, it’s picks by the team.

            The one caveat you mentioned that was on subject was in regards to it may be on the coaching staff. Again however it’s very evident when the continued malaise spans coaching staffs and is still an almost annual event it’s on the man in charge of the NFL Draft and Jerry Jones makes it very clear that’s him.

            Love your info on team building and what kind of players Bennett and Fasano have been. Back on subject however you’ve offered nothing on point. When a team consistently watches their second rounds picks walk out the door … they are bad picks.

            In closing … Lawrence. Once he can stay on the field he will be a good pick. Any year. Pick one. Til then … nope. Availability is part of the required skill set for a “good pick.” You don’t have it, regardless of why, you fail.

          • Michael

            That is because your original premise conflated two operations – bringing talent into the building and developing talent – that should be considered apart. You tried to stuff them together under this weird metric of “snaps for the team.” Well, it doesn’t work that way.

            If drafting players were as simple as buying widgets down at the local market, then I would agree wholeheartedly with you. I would say, “you really nailed that one Steve!” Alas, the two are not the same. There is, and this may surprise you, a large vocabulary for discussing the development of players – two terms that instantly spring to mind are rookie and veteran. As in the commonly heard phrase, “that was a typical mistake.” On the other hand, last season this blog was full of statements like, “Dak doesn’t play like a rookie” because people were surprised that he was ahead of the assumed learning curve.

            BTW, we could also talk about how the Cowboys manage their talent under the cap, which is a related issue but should also be considered separately.

          • Steven Van Over

            Interesting explanation as to why you are deviating from the premise you put forth, yet it still offers nothing to change the logical premise. They were/are bad picks. Not much sense in continuing to ride a bus when the driver keeps changing routes so the ride never ends.

            Your above response is too far off topic and (frankly) a desperate shot. Time for me to get off the bus amigo. Thanks for the ride.

    • Taylor

      Both Fasano and Bennett are on their fifth team. Fasano has contributed about 300 yds per season to his five teams. Bennett has soared into the 450 or so range. Not dynamic playmakers, although Marty is a horse on the line.

      • Michael

        Fasano’s best years were with Miami. And Bennett is … well, Bennett has personality. But you have to appreciate the dirty work these two do along the LOS year in and year out. Bennett is likely the best blocking TE in the league and Fasano is well above average. It isn’t that easy to carve a long career out at TE, especially with all the incentives to play younger players in today’s NFL. I always like the blue collar guys who do the dirty work that goes unnoticed.

        The one pick on SVO’s list that I absolutely loathed at the time (and still do) is Randy Gregory. That was a stupid gamble. Bruce Carter was a disappointment but at least he had a couple good years.

        • Football Mensa

          Do you draft blocking te’s in the second round ? Being on 5 teams reeks of journeyman player.

          Now we actually have another mediocre second rounder from Carter’s draft in Paea.

          • Michael

            At the time you really have no idea that Witten is going to be so durable and play at a high level for so long, so trying to replace him via draft pick is a solid strategy. On the other hand, if you committing 30% of your offensive snaps to 2TEs then you need another guy on the LOS.

            And you are overlooking how productive these guys have been in good situations, Bennett has had more than 50 catches per year since 2012 (90 in 2014) while Fasano was a 35 catch per year guy in a bad Miami offense for a long stretch.

    • Senovio Rodriguez

      Fasano and Bennett were okay players…just not for the Cowboys.

      Keep hearing and reading about trying to use the two TE offense. And never getting any traction or production.

      • Michael

        In 2016, two or three TE (12 or 13) sets accounted for about 25% of the Cowboys snaps, with most of those snaps coming prior to Swaim’s injury. No doubt, if Swaim or Hanna had been healthy and Prescott more comfortable under center that percentage would have been higher. A few years ago as I recall, they ran as many as 37% out of 12 or 13.

        The Cowboys use multiple TE sets very effectively.

        • Steven Van Over

          Multiple TE sets are not the same as the downfield 2 TE attack popularized by the Pats that Jones was espousing. Instead Dallas uses it mainly as a power running attack.

          • McShrek

            Excellent point…

          • Michael

            You are sort of right but mainly wrong. Yes, the Cowboys run more than they pass out of 12 but the formation has consistently yielded some of their best YPA numbers. If they had a TE with speed down the seam, like Bennett, the YPA numbers would be even higher. I expected the passing percentage will go up from 12 as Prescott gets more comfortable under center.

            I hear what Jerry says but I also know that 90% of it is BS. You are better off looking at the formations the Cowboys use rather than parsing Jones’ words.

            What was the ultimate fate of the Pats Gronk/Hernandez attack (besides the obvious jail sentence)? After Hernandez was arrested Belichick figured out he could get the same matchups with a cheaper player, Wes Welker. Now every team has a Welker (Cole Beasley) guy they can use to pick on the weak LB, much as Belechick (and Sid Gillman before him) did with F backs like Hernandez. So in that sense, the Cowboys have copied the Pats attack.

  • Daniel Bollman

    Tyrone Crawford was a third round pick. Jaylon Smith was from Notre Dame. Since the 60’s, Dallas has had a few great 2nd round picks, Mel Renfro for example, but for the most part they have blown that pick. Just look at the late 70’s through 1988, almost nothing. Jimmy Johnson did very good and then Larry Allen, but not much after that.

    • Steven Van Over

      big tip-o-the-cap amigo. Always appreciate corrections. I generally write in the middle of the night and sometimes I mix thinks up before the coffee kicks in 🙂 Corrected. Thanks again.

  • Taylor

    The TE selections are what happens when you are following flavor-of-the-month schemes. This is also how we wound up giving two firsts for JoeyG. (Remember the greatest show on turf?) All these other guys came in with red flags taped all over them, which, obviously, we ignored. The first three picks should be treated like gems, carefully examined for flaws, and have the potential to be a center piece in the necklace. We treat them like gravel picked up after stopping to fix a flat.

  • JPD

    Some would consider your article harsh. I would characterize it as accurate. Jerry Jones is a great businessman. He is and has been, horrible in his draft choices. Looks like his son is taking over in that department. If last year is any example, Cowboys may have more success in the draft.

    • Lee1936

      You are right to say SVO’s article is accurate. But to say JerryJ is a great businessman is not quite accurate. Although very successful in making money, he fails annually to do what any great businessman would have done decades ago. He refuses to fire his incompetent, publicity addicted General Manager. He’s a perennial billionaire loser.
      Definition of “perennial” — perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.

      • Senovio Rodriguez

        Great at making money. And great in marketing…but sometimes that marketing is all “hooey”/BS.

        Case in point: Jaylon Smith. By the time he hits the field and maybe find out how good he will be or is…4 years will have gone by. And …nada. Not one damn productive season.

      • McShrek

        Amen to that………….now pressuring Romo to retire takes the cake, but Romo will greatly benefit for his decision as he ages.

  • Football Mensa

    Well said SVO. And it has cost the Cowboys not to have production from those picks. First and second round picks are supposed to be your impact players. They are the one’s who are supposed to add juice to your team. Look at those wasted defensive picks. That kind of philosophy is skewed from the beginning.

    And since we are in draft season I wanted to leave this here. Interesting to say the least.
    We just thought Kellen Moore had a weak arm.

    • McShrek

      He does, but so does Watson……………..cannot believe that Romo has retired and taken Simms’ place at CBS……nice work without the wear and tear.