No NFL team could love a player more than the Dallas Cowboys jason wittonBut loyalty and devotion during his long career didn't stop him from drafting eight others who played him.
Three of those players were second-round draft picks: Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett and the late Gavin Escobar,
Some of these tight ends were drafted as developmental players who can pan out, and some were selected specifically to push/beat out Witten. The Cowboys had some good tight ends in the same room with Witten; None of them could take the place of that person.
Witten left the Cowboys for the second time after the 2019 season and beyond ghosts still exist all over the star in Frisco.
Near the Cowboys locker room is a giant picture of Witten's most famous play, when he lost my helmet During a catch and run against the Eagles in Philadelphia in 2007. There are countless other instances when you turn your head and look back at Jason Witten.
The Cowboys tight end has improved since Witten's departure, but the team hasn't found another Jason Witten. They didn't find him because that type of tight end doesn't really exist anymore.
team selected Luke Schoonmaker of Michigan In the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, it doesn't have to be Jason Witten, but if somehow he develops into that player, no one will complain.
Give credit to the child; He became a Patriots fan, and one in particular of retired tight end Rob Gronkowski, but the man is familiar with Witten, and wants to emulate him.
“I love watching Gronk, and more recently (San Francisco's) George Keitel,” Schoonmaker said after the team's first rookie mini-camp session on Friday. “Lately I have been watching Witten. As a player, of course, he is brilliant. He's going to be a Hall of Famer.
“He as a person, as a teammate. He's such a leader.
It would be hard to find a better role model for a tight end than Jason Witten. It would be hard to find a better role model for a pro football player than Jason Witten.
Schoonmacher's interest in Witten began right around the time he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe just a coincidence.
Schoonmaker said it has reached out to Witten but has not yet heard back. Schoonmaker wants to pick Witten's brain.
It would be a shock if Witten didn't return his call. Witten is currently the head coach at Liberty Christian High School in Argyle and a loyal ex-Cowboy.
Don't expect Schoonmaker to play like Witten.
When Witten came into the league as a third-round pick of the Cowboys in 2003, he had coach Bill Parcells ride him every time he opened his eyes. Parcells' message/question to Witten was, “Are you going to be one of those candies—tight ends like Tony Gonzalez?”
Parcells wanted an extra blocker who could catch passes in the middle of the field. In Witten's prime, he was a terrific blocker and reliable pass catcher. Few tight ends in the history of football knew how to get open better than Witten.
He was never a threat spreading the field and turning a 7-yard reception into a 37-yard touchdown.
Tight ends now, like Tony Gonzalez, are essentially third wide receivers. They are small forwards who can dominate defensive backs, and can be run by linebackers.
At 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, Schoonmaker fits closer to the dimensions of kansas City's Travis Kelce, Atlanta's Kyle Pitts or San Francisco's George Cattle; He's about 6-foot-5, and close to 250 pounds.
Witten was 265, and had little problem standing up to linebackers or edge rushers.
A Kelce is a capable blocker, as is Kettle, but the priority is to take advantage of matchups down the field and run after catch yards. YAC was never Witten's thing.
Schoonmaker is of his own making. So do a lot of other tight ends who are not as productive as Kelce, Pitts or Kittel.
With the Cowboys letting Dalton Schultz go in free agency, Schoonmaker moves into a tight end room where he can quickly be a TE1. The Cowboys prefer second-year tight ends Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, neither of whom have the abilities of Schoonmacher.
Coincidentally, every tight end in his group is a Big 10 alum; Ferguson is a Wisconsin man, Hendershot attended Indiana; Schoonmaker and reserve sean McCown both played at Michigan.
All of these tight ends have some play to do, but there's an opportunity for Schoonmaker to play a lot right away.
Because this is Michigan, where running the ball on 4th-and-34 is a viable option, Schoonmaker didn't really get to show the receiving skills the Cowboys believed he had.
“I'm excited to showcase it,” he said. “I think it's something that I can incorporate and show that I can be used in that role.”
So the Cowboys drafted him in the second round. Jason Witten shouldn't be.
Those people are not around now.