Coach David Robinson knows NFL talent. Having trained Emmanuel Sanders, Adrian Peterson, Jordan Reed, and Antonio Brown, Robinson’s resume speaks for itself.
Coach Rob (as his players affectionately refer to him) is a former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver, and now works every offseason to get NFL receivers, tight ends, and running backs in tip-top shape for the season. Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been one of Coach Rob’s clients each of the past two offseasons.
Gathers is as exciting as he is unknown. Having played basketball throughout his career at Baylor, Gathers hadn’t played the game of football since his middle school days. Even with his time away from the game, Gathers’ athletic 6’6, 273 pound frame proved too tempting for Dallas to pass on late in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Gathers spent all of last season on the practice squad, becoming a favorite target of Tony Romo on the scout team. The question now is whether or not he’s ready to take the next step, and provide meaningful snaps to a Cowboys team with its eyes on the Super Bowl. Coach Rob can be counted among the believers.
“He’s gotten a lot smoother in his route-running,” Coach Rob tells CowboysCast in an interview slated for release on Friday. “Sinking his hips, bending, working his feet at the top of his routes; he seems like he’s a lot more comfortable doing that this year as opposed to last year. Last year it was kind of foreign to him, coming straight from basketball. But you can definitely tell he has been putting in the time catching the ball, getting extra catches away from his body, and he’s looking a lot more natural at the tight end position.”
Coach Rob thinks the improvements in his game are enough for him to make the 53 man roster in 2017.
“I think his learning curve is a lot faster than what Jerry Jones and those guys expected. I think he’ll be ready to go this year.
“I wouldn’t say give him as many snaps as Jason Witten, but start playing him. Get his confidence up, throw him a pass here or there; I think he’s ready for that.”
So with so many questions and conjecture about Gathers’ ability, what kind of a ceiling does he have?
“I think Rico has what it takes to be one of those tight ends like Jordan Reed or Antonio Gates,” raves Robinson. “He’s so big and hard to bring down, and he’s so athletic.”
You can listen to the full interview with Coach Robinson on CowboysCast this Friday.