The Dallas Cowboys have little depth behind Jason Witten at the tight end position. Over the offseason, they decided not to pursue a new cntract with underwhelming Martellus Bennett; letting him sign a one-year deal with the rival New York Giants. That left only John Phillips as a viable option behind The Senator, and Phillips had yet to prove that he was completely healed from an ACL injury suffered in 2010.
Late in the draft, Dallas selected James Hanna out of the University of Oklahoma; however the depth chart must go more than three deep. One of the team's solutions? Signing UDFA George Bryan, a tight end out of North Carolina State.
Bryan isn't the quickest tight end on the planet, running a slow-footed 5.03 40-yard dash. He shouldn't be considered a blocking tight end only however; he lead the ACC in receptions by a tight end in 2009 and has been remarkably consistent over the last three seasons. 40 catches for 422 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore, 35 catches for 369 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, and 33 catches for 331 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. Blocking might be his strong suit, but he would be a great underneath threat after initially blocking and leaking out into open space. His skillset as a blocker? From NFL Draft Scout:
Bryan's game is finding soft spots in zones and using his frame to exploit his greatest asset: world class hands. As an NFL Draft prospect, Bryan is clearly a traditional block-first tight end. He has good technique and bend as a blocker and some power in his hands, and blocks well enough for lead tight end roles. However, his frame keeps his center of gravity high, preventing Bryan from getting a top blocking grade. As a receiver, the main issue is whether Bryan has the agility to shake tighter coverage at the next level. Bryan can turn and cut well, and if a strong-armed NFL passer can gun the ball into his hands, he will almost always catch it.