Cowboys Hidden Gems: Tyler Clutts

As a whole the Cowboys’ 2013 season was a disappointment, but they did manage to have some hidden gems. In this series NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer looks at some under-the-radar success stories.

IRVING, Texas – Tyler Clutts was not a member of the Dallas Cowboys until Dec. 3, but the fullback made a favorable impression in his four games.

By drafting tight end Gavin Escobar in the second round, the Cowboys planned to be a heavy two-tight end team and extolled the virtues of the personnel grouping throughout the season. When they needed a fullback in goal-line or short-yardage situations, they opted for linebacker Kyle Bosworth or center Phil Costa.

By signing Clutts, the offensive coaches admitted a mistake.

Coach Jason Garrett said Clutts brought a physical presence to the running game even if their running game is based more on creating angles more than space. While DeMarco Murray's 1,000-yard season was forged mostly without Clutts, he did help. The Cowboys ran for 486 yards in their last four games, topping out at 198 yards in Clutts’ first game against the Chicago Bears.

Clutts had a costly fumble in the 24-23 win against the Washington Redskins, when the ball was popped free on his only catch of the season.

Clutts is signed through 2014 but his spot is anything but secure. The Cowboys could opt to go fullback-free once again, especially if Escobar progresses in the offseason the way they hope. He did not offer much on special teams and he had only one catch in the four games.

Hidden Gems

Monday: George Selvie