The Dallas rookie with high expectations bound to make an immediate impact is Luke Schoonmaker. The Dallas Cowboys selected Schoonmaker in the second round during the 2023 NFL Draft. The young tight end from Michigan should make a name for himself quickly. He should become a star for the Cowboys right out of the gate.
Schoonmaker’s Potential Impact as a Rookie
Schoonmaker’s College Career
The former Michigan Wolverine started slowly in college appearing in 17 combined games until his 2021 season. He did not excel as a pass-catcher until 2022. During his final season, he racked up 418 yards and three touchdowns. Some of his highlight games included a 72-yard game with seven receptions and a 67-yard game on nine catches. Schoonmaker found the endzone in both of these games.
Your newest Cowboy ✭
TE Luke Schoonmaker pic.twitter.com/RYT5LA4fGp
— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) April 29, 2023
He made a great decision cashing in on his fifth-year eligibility and returning for his final season. Michigan had an excellent season reaching the College Football Playoff and losing a nail-biter to Texas Christian University. Schoonmaker earned a reputation as a great blocker with athleticism. He is also applauded never complaining about volume as a pass-catcher.
Cowboys Tight End Landscape
Schoonmaker is stepping into a perfect situation with the Cowboys. After Dalton Schultz signed with the Houston Texans during free agency, the Cowboys were devoid of a started tight end. The Cowboys were unable to come to terms with Schultz following a pedestrian season and had to rebuild the position through the draft.
Top #DallasCowboys training camp battles I’m looking forward to seeing:
TE: (Ferguson, Hendershot, Schoonmaker)
WR4: (Tolbert, Brooks, Fehoko, Houston, Moreno-Cropper)
RB2: (Vaughn, Davis, Dowdle, Jones,
Swing tackle: (Richards, Waletzko, Bass) pic.twitter.com/f871gkq2H5
— Ernie (@es3_09) May 22, 2023
Schultz is entering the sixth season of his career after breaking out in 2020. Schoonmaker is stepping in to replace Schultz’s 2,122 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Schultz also saw 301 targets during his time with the Cowboys. Schoonmaker’s only competition at the position is Peyton Hendershot and Jake Ferguson. Both guys appeared in games and made some meaningful plays but could not strangle snaps from Schultz. The young tight end has an opportunity to turn these potential targets into a long career for Dallas.
Schoonmaker’s Fit With the Dallas Offense
Dak Prescott features a tight end heavily peppering Schultz with over 300 targets over the past several seasons. Dallas also has a history of heavy-using tight ends during Jason Witten’s career. The Cowboys offense is full of skilled pass-catchers with the rookie tight end as a candidate to fly under the radar.
Defenses will be keying on CeeDee Lamb in the slot and Brandin Cooks down the field. When opposing defenses aren’t trying to keep those two wide receivers bottled they will have to deal with the Cowboys punishing rush attack with Tony Pollard. Prescott and Mike McCarthy use this rush attack to their advantage in setting up the passing game.
The Cowboys have gutted teams with play-action passing over the last several seasons. After parting ways with Kellen Moore, expect Dallas to simplify their playbook and increase play-action passing. This should lead to more passes in the middle of the field, now occupied by rookie Schoonmaker.
Schoonmaker was also praised as an excellent blocker while at Michigan. The Cowboys offensive line is one of the best in the NFL behind 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith. Schoonmaker’s talented blocking will keep him on the field more often and open up more opportunities in a simplified offense.
Cowboys Tight End Talent
The tight end room for Dallas could soon be regarded as a three-headed monster. Both Hendershot and Ferguson are excited to see more opportunities with Schultz in the mix. Schoonmaker adds blocking stability, speed, talent, and depth to this group. With McCarthy calling the plays, Prescott should have simpler reads with some shorter passes to his bigger targets. The Cowboys run game and play-action passing will their offense one of the top units in the upcoming season.
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