The Dallas Cowboys are set with their first two tight ends, but there will be a battle for the third and fourth spot on the roster.
Jason Witten is set to be the starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys for the 11th consecutive season, and he has exceptional durability that has enabled him to play in 171 consecutive games.
Witten declined last season in catches, but he still reached 851 receiving yards and found the end zone eight times.
The Pro Bowler will look to return to 2012 form where he caught a career-high 110 passes for 1,039 yards while remaining a red-zone threat.
Witten has been able to maintain solid production with the Cowboys, but his career may be on the decline soon, which is why Gavin Escobar was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Escobar caught two touchdown passes out of his nine receptions, but his playing time was limited in his rookie season. This is largely because of his limitations as a blocking tight end, but Escobar has reportedly made an effort to improve his blocking skills.
The former San Diego State tight end has been considered a breakout candidate since joining the Cowboys, and he may become a worthy successor to Witten if results show from his efforts to improve his blocking.
James Hanna will be the No. 3 tight end for the Cowboys. He has received limited playing time because he has not shown enough blocking or receiving skills to be a consistently reliable target.
Hanna may be pushed by Jordan Najvar for a roster spot unless the Cowboys decide to carry four tight ends. Najvar offers blocking ability that no one other than Witten does, so he may make the roster due to his value in that department.
Dallas Walker, who was signed shortly before training camp, will also push for a roster spot but find it difficult to make the team.
The Cowboys will likely carry three or four tight ends. If they only carry three, Hanna has the edge as of now for his upside, but Najvar’s blocking skills may ultimately win out.