It may take time, but the Dallas Cowboys believe former Baylor basketball standout Rico Gathers will eventually become a tight end worthy of the sixth-round pick they used on him in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“He’s a giant of a man, and obviously has that first guy off the bus look,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “We know we need to be patient. How patient will be determined by fast he picks everything up. The guy is going to be, at some point, a matchup (advantage). Whether it’s blocking, because of his size and length, or if it’s his catch radius and big hands, the guy was a great shot-blocker and rebounder in college, and those guys have translated into the NFL.”
Gathers is looking to join other NFL tight end greats like Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham as players who have excelled in the league without playing college football.
“It isn’t going to happen overnight,” Gathers said. “This is about being here every day, and taking every rep that you get personally. You don’t want to waste any reps.”
Playing for the Cowboys, Gathers knows he has a huge advantage in being able to learn from the tight end with the second-most catches in NFL history, thirteen-year veteran Jason Witten.
“He’s real consistent,” Gathers said of Witten. “He’s been doing this for a long time. He doesn’t want to be out of practice. He treats every rep (in practice) like it’s a game rep.”