There is nothing unusual about NFL teams signing college basketball players. That was the case with Rico Gathers. Although it seemed like a long shot, Dallas Cowboys decided to sign this youngster.
Rico never played a single NFL game before and he does seem extremely raw. He barely made it to the 53-man roster in the end. Geoff Swaim and James Hanna are both in front of him on the official team depth chart however Gathers does have more upside than both of them and he proved it during the Hall of Fame game.
Gathers made his first important strides as a tight end in the Hall of Fame Game even though he is best known for his involvement with the All Big 12 First Team when he played basketball at Baylor. He managed to catch three passes for 59 yards one of which was a touchdown!
It’s really not that hard to pass it to a basketball player considering his physique. Gathers boxed out his man to create the space needed for scoring. Exactly that skill is what propelled Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez into the Hall of Fame. That’s also what made Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas superstars.
On the other hand it is quite obvious that Swaim and Hanna are more likely to contribute more since they have played football way before Rico Gathers stepped up. However if the Cowboys want someone who has really high potential and could become a major asset they don’t have to look no further than Rico. His game against the Arizona Cardinals was the proof. And on top of that, Jason Witten won’t play forever, that’s a fact. If the Cowboys put in effort to develop Gathers further it could pay off, he could become Witten’s long-term replacement. When it comes to 2017 season he is athletic enough to serve as a nice complement to Witten in two-tight end sets. All in all, Rico had an excellent start to the season and we believe that he will only get better as the season progresses.