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_0114web.jpg SOCCER: JV Lady Zebras edge Verdigris, 2-1

    Claremore sophomore forward Brylee Brasher may have felt a little out of position Monday night during the junior varsity game against Verdigris.
    Normally, starting in the goal for the Lady Zebras varsity team, Brasher came out of her comfort zone to start at forward for the Claremore JV.
    The position switch proved to be a great decision for head coach Robin Sutherland, as Brasher showed a tenacity on offense that led to Claremore’s 2-1 win over Verdigris.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hart: Vols hoops job still 'extremely attractive'

    Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart believes the criticism former men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin encountered this season won't hinder the Volunteers' search for a successor.

    April 17, 2014

  • BIG 12 MBB: Kansas State gives Weber 1-year contract extension

    Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber has received a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 school year after leading the Wildcats to 47 wins in his first two seasons, the most victories by any coach in his first two years in school history.

    April 17, 2014

  • NCAA MEN'S BB: Manning completes Wake Forest coaching staff

    New Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning is bringing three members of his Tulsa coaching staff with him.

    April 17, 2014

  • NCAA MEN'S BB: Duke's Parker declares for NBA Draft

    Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA draft.
    Coach Mike Krzyzewski says in a statement Thursday it was ''an honor for us to have him in our program.'' In an essay posted on SI.com, Parker says the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

    April 17, 2014

  • NBA: Blake Griffin's 16th technical triggers 1-game suspension

    Blake Griffin has picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, triggering a league-mandated one-game suspension.

    April 17, 2014

  • NBA CAPSULES: Wizards top Celtics, clinch playoff berth

    Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Washington clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
    The Wizards will be facing Chicago in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

    April 17, 2014

  • Let the (real) games begin: It's NBA playoff time

    Finally, the NBA playoffs are set.
    It took the entire season to fill out those brackets.
    Overtime thrillers in Memphis and Charlotte, a go-ahead dunk in Oklahoma City to win a game and cap another scoring title for Kevin Durant, plus some good old-fashioned disinterest by Brooklyn ... all that, and more, on the final night of the season was needed before the eight conference-quarterfinal matchups in this season's NBA playoffs could be decided.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high Negro Leagues stadium makes comeback

    The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium.
    Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro Leagues teams is getting another chance at bat as baseball's first National Historic Landmark.

    April 17, 2014