Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

April 27, 2013

NFL DRAFT: Romo's voice heard as Dallas takes pass catchers

DALLAS — 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.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Houston Baptist clips ORU, 11-10

    Jose Trevino launched his second home run of the series on Saturday afternoon to send the game into extra innings, but Houston Baptist plated two runs in the 10th to avoid a three-game sweep with an 11-10 win at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

    April 20, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: Henshaw's 11th-inning HR lifts Tulsa past UTSA, 2-1

    Senior Haley Henshaw's home run in the top of the 11th inning gave No. 16 Tulsa a 2-1 win at UTSA and complete the series sweep Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

    April 20, 2014