The Dallas Cowboys are entering uncharted territory this season. With Dalton Schultz now with the Buffalo Bills—signed as a free agent—the Cowboys will have to answer the question of just who, exactly, is going to be their starting tight end this season. For now, that job looks like it’s Jake Ferguson’s to lose, but rookie second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker is waiting in the wings.
Cowboys starting tight end: Jake Ferguson
A fourth-round pick last year, Ferguson ended up starting eight games as a rookie while Schultz battled injuries. On the season, he finished with 19 catches on 22 targets for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
At 6’5, 250 pounds, Ferguson had a productive college career with Wisconsin, but he looms as more of an in-line tight end, rather than a field stretcher who’s going to rack up lots of stats in the passing game.
There’s also some uncertainty of how the tight end position will figure into the Cowboys offense now that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has been replaced by the always underwhelming Brian Schottenheimer. Plus, the team added Brandin Cooks to round out a solid group of wide receivers who could easily eat up most of the targets.
Who is Jake Ferguson’s backup on the Cowboys TE depth chart?
Luke Schoonmaker isn’t a radically different player than Ferguson, but as a second-round pick, he’ll have the chance to compete for the starting role once camp starts. He missed a lot of the team’s spring practices because of a foot injury, which could set him back a little in terms of being familiar with the offense once camp starts.
There’s also Peyton Hendershot—11 catches for 103 yards and two scores last season—as well as Sean McKeon and Seth Green battling for a roster spot this summer.