This offseason has definitely been an interesting one for the Cowboys. The team has lost a few big-name players, most notably, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
The question that now arises is, who will step up and fill the shoes of a hall of fame tight end and the franchise leader in touchdown receptions? Well, hopefully these three players will help answer that question.
A strong year by Ezekiel Elliott would surprise noone, so he will be left off of the ‘breakout’ list. Instead, this list will be focused on more ‘under the radar’ type of players. Without further adieu, here are the three candidates.
Breakout Candidate #1: Michael Gallup
The Cowboys addressed their glaring need at wide receiver when they selected Colorado State’s Michael Gallup in the third round of the NFL draft. Gallup is a very underrated player and one that many fans might not have heard of until he was selected. Gallup is one of the many new faces in the WR room for 2018 and seems to be the one with the greatest chance to have a big impact.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gallup had the best hands in all of College Football from 2016-2017 in the red zone, as he dropped zero passes in that two-season span, his only seasons spent in the NCAA. For a team that struggled in the red zone towards the end of last season, Gallup’s impact should be felt immediately.
RT @PFF_College: Lowest drop rate in the red zone among the 2018 NFL Draft class at WR?
— ReeRay1 (@ReeRay1) May 23, 2018
2018 Stat Prediction: 62 Receptions 783 Yards. 9 TDs.
Breakout Candidate #2: Tavon Austin
Another big pick-up the Cowboys made on draft day was trading their 192nd pick in the draft to the Los Angeles Rams for RB/WR Tavon Austin, who seems to be the new ‘secret weapon’ of the offense. With the team trading away Ryan Switzer, expect Austin to potentially return a punt on 4th down, line up as receiver on 1st down, then as a running back on 2nd down.
We have seen the Cowboys try to incorporate a gadget player in the past few seasons like Switzer and Lucky Whitehead and have it not work out in their favor, maybe this time it will finally work for the team. Don’t expect Austin to light the world on fire next season, but he will have an opportunity have at least one big play per game. Think more Lance Dunbar 2014 and not Austin at WVU.
2018 Stat Prediction: 65 Carries. 326 Yards. 1 TD. 30 Receptions. 376 Yards. 2 TDs. 1 Pass. 27 Yards. 1 TD (Also 1 Punt Return TD)
Breakout Candidate #3: Geoff Swaim
A lot of you are probably scratching your heads at this one, but hear me out. Jason Witten and James Hanna have retired, which means that tight end reps will no longer be dominated by those players, Dalton Schultz is a rookie and Rico Gathers might as well be one, too. This opens the door for Swaim to see the field a lot and potentially have himself a nice season.
In his three years in the NFL, Swaim has only nine receptions and 94 yards, however, he has proven to be a good blocker and someone that the team can count on, and he is currently the oldest tight end on the team (he’ll turn 25 in September). This most likely means that the starting tight end job is his to lose. Look, I’m not saying to pick him up on your fantasy team, but he could have himself a nice season.
2018 Stat Prediction: 41 Receptions. 416 Yards. 4 TDs.
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