Tony Romo might not have much blocking, but he’ll sure have plenty of targets in 2013.
Dallas used two of its three selections in the NFL draft Friday on pass catchers, nabbing NCAA receiving champion Terrance Williams of Baylor and tight end Gavin Escobar of San Diego State.
Safety J.J. Wilcox from Georgia Southern was the Cowboys’ other day-two choice as Dallas did not address its weaknesses at guard and tackle.
In Williams, a third-round selection, the Cowboys kept one at home. Williams was a lightly regarded 2-star recruit from Dallas White who signed with Baylor and developed in Art Briles’ system into the next in a line of star wideouts for the Bears.
Williams is a the ultimate home-run threat. He caught 97 balls for 1,832 yards - an average of 18.9 yards - and 12 touchdowns in 2012. Williams was the national leader with 23 receptions of 30 yards or more and 15 catches of 40 yards or more.
“He had the skill set to go in the second round,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “Like a lot of the tall guys, I need to see a little bit of burst, but I think there’s something to build on here.”
Williams had nearly 1,000 yards receiving in 2011 with Robert Griffin III throwing the ball, and Williams follows Kendall Wright and Josh Gordon as high draft picks at the position from Baylor.
Escobar, a 6-foot-6-inch, 254-pounder, represents Jerry Jones’ effort to uncover the next Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. Escobar is a hybrid, often playing wide with the Aztecs. He can get open and hangs onto the ball. Just don’t ask him to block.
Dallas has picked five tight ends since taking franchise receptions leader Jason Witten in the third round a decade ago, including James Hanna of Oklahoma last year.
“I’m always striving to be a complete tight end like Jason Witten,” Escobar told the media. “And if I’m able to take over his role once he’s gone, that would be amazing.”
Escobar, a lightly recruited player from California, had 122 catches for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns in three years at San Diego State.
“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.”
Wilcox, who played lesser competition at the FCS level, is a fascinating project.
He signed with Georgia Southern as a slot receiver then was moved to running back. In his first three years, Wilcox ran for 964 yards, 7.1 yards per carry, and caught 45 balls for 898 yards.
When the Eagles switched offenses in his senior year, Wilcox agreed to move to safety. He caught on fast, leading the team with 84 tackles. Not surprisingly, his technique is raw and speed questionable, but Wilcox has the instincts and tools for the position.
COWBOYS DAY 2
Rnd 2 (47th overall) - Gavin Escobar (TE, 6-6, 254, San Diego State): First-team All-Mountain West choice in 2012. Led the Aztecs with 42 catches for 543 yards and 6 touchdowns. Great size, good hand-eye coordination, often lined up out wide, a bit of a plodder, does not block well.
Rnd 3 (74) - Terrance Williams (WR, 6-2, 208, Baylor): Led the nation in receiving yardage with 1,832 last year. Caught 97 balls, 12 going for touchdowns. Had 59 catches for 957 yards and 11 TDs as a junior. A long strider and glider who looks every bit the part of a big-play receiver.
Rnd 3 (80) - J.J. Wilcox (S, 6-0, 213, Georgia Southern): Interesting project with athleticism and versatility. Switched from wideout to slotback to strong safety for his senior year. Made 84 tackles, had two interceptions and returned kicks for an average of 25.5 yards.