Rookie Jake Ferguson brings a physical play style Dallas Cowboys need at tight end

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
Callena Williams/Dallas Cowboys/Dallas Cowboys
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dallas Cowboys rookie tight end Jake Ferguson is the only 2022 draft pick still not under contract.

The team got deals done with second-round pick Sam Williams and third-round pick Jalen Tolbert early this week after coming to terms with the six other picks, led by first-round pick Tyler Smith, during last weekend’s rookie minicamp.

It should be only be a matter of time for Ferguson, the fourth-round pick from Wisconsin. He is expected to make an immediate impact as a rookie because of his talent and necessity.

With Dalton Schultz as the only sure thing at tight end on the roster — and he is only secure for one more year as he is playing on the franchise tag in 2022 — Ferguson is being counted on to be part of the team’s two tight end sets as a rookie.

Considering how Schultz developed and broke out under tight ends coach Lunda Wells the past two years, Ferguson is in a good place to thrive.

The Cowboys are excited because he came from a good foundation at Wisconsin as a complete tight end. He didn’t disappoint at rookie minicamp with his pass-catching ability and physicality as a blocker.

“I like the way he plays. It’s the first thing that jumped out,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I like his play style. I like his aggressiveness, and I think he’s what you need at tight end. He’s able to play on the ball, off the ball. He’s productive as a receiver. But I really like his play style.”

McCarthy called a Ferguson a well-rounded football player who not only plays the tight end position the right way but he is coached up on special teams because Wisconsin is one of the few teams in college football that uses that uses a pro punt formation.

He was the only rookie who “had any former experience there. You could see it in his footwork and you could see it in his standing. I think he’s a really well-rounded football player,” McCarthy said.

The Cowboys need Ferguson’s mindset and physical play style in the running game. That part has been lacking in the tight end group.

But it was part of Ferguson’s DNA at Wisconsin, a school known for running the football.

“Going to Wisconsin, that’s first, second, pretty much third down we’re blocking,” Ferguson said. “If it’s six yards, we think we can get it on the ground and we’re going to go for it,” he said. “Finally getting through those five years at Wisconsin, that’s something I love doing. That’s all it is — a mindset in the trenches. You’ve got to love it.”

The Cowboys plan to put his style and physicality to good use in their favored 12 personnel packages of one running back and two tight ends, especially on obvious running downs.

“We need it,” McCarthy said. “The play style that we’ve established here, he definitely fits into that. It’s definitely that we need more of, and I think Jake’s an excellent fit for us.”

It’s also no coincidence that the Cowboys gave him No. 48, which was made famous by fullback Daryl Johnston, who was Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith’s leading blocker on the Super Bowl title teams of the 1990s.

Ferguson’s knows the history of the number

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

The number signifies excellence as a blocker in the running game.

And Ferguson didn’t already have a lot to live up to. His grandfather, legendary former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez — who worked with Johnston as a Fox broadcaster a few years ago — made sure he honors the number with his play and performance.

“He actually texted me and was like, ‘You better not be throwing shade on 48,’” Ferguson said with a laugh.

Cowboys to hold joint practices with Broncos, Chargers

The Dallas Cowboys will conduct joint practices with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers before preseason games against both teams during training camp.

The Cowboys will practice against the Broncos in Englewood, Colo., on Aug. 11, two days before the preseason opener in Denver.

The Cowboys will then return to training camp in Oxnard, California, and practice for a few days before breaking camp for a trip to Costa Mesa, California, to practice against the Chargers on Aug. 17 and 18. They will face the Chargers on Aug. 20 at SoFi Stadium.