One of the question marks for the Cowboys entering the offseason was what were they going to do at tight end. They placed the franchise tag on Dalton Schultz for $10.9 million as a placeholder for a long-term deal, but talks fell through before the July 15 deadline.

Less than two months after tagging Schultz, the Cowboys covered themselves on the backend at the tight end position. After taking wide receiver Jalen Tolbert out of South Alabama in the third round, the Cowboys added more offensive firepower by selecting tight end Jake Ferguson out of Wisconsin in the fourth round.

Ferguson isn’t expected to beat out Schultz, and he won’t have an easy time beating out Sean McKeon for backup duties at tight end. His height, hands, and catching range of Ferguson do make him an intriguing prospect. He hasn’t been in Dallas long, but he’s already made a positive impression on the organization according to Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy.

“He’s everything we thought he was,” McCarthy said. “You love his tenacity. Bright. Has a clear understanding. Multiple-positional player. I think Jake’s the kind of guy who will show up today when you put the pads on. That’s his game.”

Ferguson would redshirt his freshman year at Wisconsin in 2017. Over the next four seasons, he appeared in 47 games for the Badgers. In an offense that doesn’t traditionally have elite quarterback play or focus on getting tight ends the ball, Ferguson made the best of his situation. He averaged about 36 receptions for a little over 400 yards and around three touchdowns each season at Wisconsin. In 2021, he caught a pass in his 39th consecutive game at Wisconsin which broke the record set by former Badgers receiver Lee Evans.

The Cowboys brought in Ferguson not only as a possible TE1 of the future if they move on from Schultz but to work with him in two-tight end packages this season, something they thrive on. Don’t think that Ferguson sees himself as just a guy though, as the rookie has set a bar for his first NFL campaign.

“I’ve got pretty high expectations for myself,” Ferguson said. “I kind of keep those to myself, but I definitely want to get on the field and make an impact wherever.”

And if Ferguson continues the pace he’s on, it’s completely understandable if the Cowboys make him their TE1 as soon as next year.

Ferguson will have some added motivation going into his rookie season. He will wear the number 48, the same as legendary Cowboys’ full-back Daryl “Moose” Johnston who paved the way for all-time leading rusher and Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith during the 1990s.

After Ferguson received a text from former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who happens to be his grandfather, he let it be known he knew the responsibility that he was about to take on.

“Moose and (No.) 48,” Ferguson said, via the team website. “Some guys are like, ‘Oh, he’s (wearing) 48.’ I’m like, ‘You guys don’t know who wore 48.’”

Those are big shoes for Ferguson to fill, and his journey will begin soon once the preseason commences.

Feature image via Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports