2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Romo's voice heard as Dallas takes pass catchers

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-26 22:55

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Tony Romo's voice was heard on the second day of the NFL draft - just like it was on the first.

The Dallas Cowboys got him another tight end, even though owner and general manager Jerry Jones doesn't see Jason Witten's career ending soon. And they grabbed him a receiver who used to catch passes from Robert Griffin III, even though Dez Bryant is coming off a career year.

The Cowboys took San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar with the 47th overall pick in the second round Friday night, then used a pick they got from San Francisco when trading down in the first round on Baylor receiver Terrance Williams.

Romo, who signed a six-year, $108 million contract with $55 million guaranteed last month, offered input on Escobar and Williams, and had lobbied for better blocking before the Cowboys traded down and got Wisconsin center Travis Frederick on Thursday night - a move mocked by analysts and derided by frustrated fans who've seen just one playoff win since 1996.

``We were looking at ways to give Romo's talents a better shot,'' Jones said. ``I'm unabashed about that.''

Williams was an AP All-America last season at Baylor after catching 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns when Nick Florence was his quarterback. With Griffin throwing to him in 2011, Williams had 59 catches for 957 yards and 11 scores.

A Dallas high school product, Williams said he used to be Bryant on the scout team at Baylor when Bryant was at Oklahoma State.

``To get a chance to play beside him, that means the world to me because I get to learn from one of the best,'' Williams said. ``He's somebody that can help me throughout this whole process.''

Bryant had a quick welcome via Twitter.

``Congrats bro.now let's go to work,'' tweeted Bryant, who career highs with 92 catches, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Williams played for Baylor coach Art Briles, whose daughter is on the public relations staff of the Cowboys.

``We feel like we know the player,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ``He's just a really good young and he's been a very productive player down there.''

Six picks after grabbing Williams, Dallas made its first defensive choice at No. 80 overall with Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox, who was a receiver and running back his first three years in the Football Championship Subdivision, a notch below the top level of college football.

The Cowboys have taken five tight ends since Witten, the franchise leader in receptions, went in the third round a decade ago. None was drafted higher than Escobar, who went 22 spots higher than Witten went in 2003 and earlier than second-rounders Anthony Fasano in 2006 and Martellus Bennett in 2008.

Witten is entering his 11th season, but the Cowboys view Escobar as another dimension for their offense, not the heir apparent to Witten, who turns 31 next month and is signed through 2017.

``I'm always striving to be a complete tight end like Jason Witten,'' said Escobar, the highest choice at tight end for Dallas since David LaFleur was the 22nd pick in the first round in 1997. ``And if I'm able to take over his role once he's gone, that would be amazing.''

Witten became the first Dallas pass catcher with 800 career receptions last year. He's third on the NFL career list with 806 catches for 8,948 yards, trailing Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe in both categories.

Escobar fits the Witten mold in that he's a receiver first, which means blocking tops the list of areas where he needs to improve. He had 122 catches for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons with the Aztecs. His best year was 2011, when he career highs of 51 receptions, 780 yards and seven scores.

``Right now, I'm trying to just work on getting bigger and working on the run game more,'' he said. ``That's one thing I need to excel on to be a complete tight end, a three-down tight end.''

Based purely on draft status, Escobar would seem likely to replace James Hanna as Witten's backup. Hanna, a sixth-round pick last year, was drawing praise from coaches late last season. He was the third tight end behind Witten and John Phillips, a sixth-round pick in 2009 who signed with San Diego as a free agent.

``We like his length, we like his athleticism, he's a natural pass catcher,'' Garrett said. ``We're excited about the second tight end. This is a guy who can really come in and make a difference for us at that spot.''

The Cowboys have three picks Saturday - one each in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. They traded their seventh-rounder to Miami last year for center Ryan Cook.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike PounceyJul 23 12:33p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) could miss the first eight weeks of the season because of the hip surgery he had this offseason, according to a source. He [ More ]

Evan RodriguezJul 23 12:23p

Buffalo Bills FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were hospitalized because of complications from cramps and were getting hydrated, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Rodriguez [ More ]

Dustin HopkinsJul 23 12:20p

Buffalo Bills PK Dustin Hopkins will have to try to make the roster as a kickoff specialist, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Vernon DavisJul 23 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has reported to camp Wednesday, July 23, according to an Instagram post from 49ers S C.J. Spillman.

Jason BabinJul 23 12:03p

New York Jets signed DE Jason Babin (Jaguars) to a two-year contract, with the second year being a team option. He's expected to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Reggie WayneJul 23 11:13a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) said he has been medically cleared to practice. He's expected to be limited, though, especially in the near future.

Kraig UrbikJul 23 10:53a

Buffalo Bills OG Chris Hairston continued to receive first-team repetitions at right guard in the red zone drills Wednesday, July 23. OG Kraig Urbik struggled with first-team the previous day.

Jamaal CharlesJul 23 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will not report to training camp Wednesday, July 23, barring a major contract breakthrough.

Vick BallardJul 23 09:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard (knee) reported to camp and has passed his physical.

Rob GronkowskiJul 23 08:53a

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) has been cleared for contact and will not be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

Evan RodriguezJul 23 08:43a

Buffalo Bills TE Chris Gragg (cramps), FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and CB Brandon E. Smith (leg) were out of practice Wednesday, July 23. OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) returned to action.

Rashad JenningsJul 23 08:23a

New York Giants RBs Rashad Jennings, David Wilson and Andre Williams could be used in a three-man rotation this season to keep Jennings fresh.

Caleb McSurdyJul 23 02:53a

The St. Louis Rams waived four players Tuesday, July 22, as they cut loose OL Abasi Salimu, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Caleb McSurdy, and LB Tavarius Wilson.

Carl NicksJul 23 02:43a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, G Carl Nicks and DE Da'Quan Bowers may be fighting for roster spots once training camp begins due to other competition for their [ More ]

Chris CulliverJul 23 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee) has been cleared to take part in practice when training camp opens this week. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament to [ More ]

Ben TateJul 23 01:13a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West will compete for the starting tailback job during training camp and the preseason, and it's a battle head coach Mike Pettine [ More ]

Joel BitonioJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OG Joel Bitonio (ankle) lined up with the first-team offense during organized team activities (OTAs), and he held the spot until he suffered a sprained ankle June [ More ]

Paul McQuistanJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OLs Garrett Gilkey, Paul McQuistan and Jason Pinkston are fighting for position in the pecking order at right guard, and one of them might even push OG [ More ]

Craig RobertsonJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns LBs Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson will compete for an inside linebacker job during training camp, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Joe HadenJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns CBs Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite CB Joe Haden in training camp. 'We weren't going to hand Justin that [ More ]

Gary BarnidgeJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray will battle for the No. 2 tight end spot during training camp and the preseason.

Eli ManningJul 23 12:23a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) has shown no ill effects during camp from ankle surgery that sidelined him for earlier offseason activities.

Tom CoughlinJul 22 11:53p

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy that several players were forced to leave practice with dehydration issues Tuesday, July 22. 'It pisses me off,' Coughlin [ More ]

Brandon LloydJul 22 11:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is the frontrunner for the No. 3 WR job, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, but he added that neither Johnson nor WR [ More ]

Darren SprolesJul 22 11:13p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles' ability to win one-on-one matchups in space is what head coach Chip Kelly plans to exploit this season. Kelly said opposing defenses played a [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 11:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Tori Gurley had miscommunications on three occasions Tuesday, July 22, resulting in two incomplete passes and an interception. Joe Buscaglia of WGR [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:53p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and QB Jeff Tuel are in an open competition for the backup quarterback job, head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday, July 22.

Brian MoormanJul 22 10:43p

Buffalo Bills P Brian Moorman was more effective than P Jake Dombrowski on punts in terms of both average hang time and average distance Tuesday, July 22.

Titus YoungJul 22 09:53p

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Titus Young (Lions) was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury from an alleged July 8 incident inside a Los Angeles-area hospital. [ More ]

Ryan MathewsJul 22 09:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews' rookie contract will expire after the 2014 season, which means this could be his final year with the organization, in the opinion of [ More ]

Mario WilliamsJul 22 09:43p

Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus and DT Kyle D. Williams were all rotated out of the lineup at times during team drills Tuesday, July 22. LB [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 22 09:23p

Buffalo Bills LB Nigel Bradham was one of eight players to record sacks during team drills Tuesday, July 22. The team's pass rush has been consistent since camp began, [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group