Geoff Swaim is no fool; he's doing what Jason Witten does

OXNARD, Calif. – A few hundred times, give or take, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has told his players to watch how tight end Jason Witten goes about his work.

Witten is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receptions. He has made the Pro Bowl 10 times. QB Tony Romo called Witten the best Cowboy ever.

Geoff Swaim really didn’t need to hear Garrett say it.

“I’d be a fool if I don’t, right?” Swaim said. “He’s a Hall of Famer and I’ve watched him since I was in middle school. Seriously. And I’ve learned so much from him just by following him around at practice and picking his brain a little bit. He’s been so gracious to help me because he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have to do that stuff. But he does and that’s been real beneficial to me.”

Swaim led the Cowboys with four catches for 57 yards in the preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He had two catches for 21 yards against the San Diego Chargers. In two years at Texas, he caught just 13 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.

The Cowboys viewed Swaim as an on-the-line tight end, like Witten.

What has Witten taught Swaim?

“I can’t really pinpoint one thing, but it’s stuff like you’re studying a guy and he’s a power guy, so you’d want to take this footwork or that footwork or running routes, just kind of when you can muscle a guy and when you want to finesse a guy,” Swaim said. “Stuff like that I never thought about because I never had to do it when I was at Texas. Just the keys to the game that sometimes a coach can’t give you because he’s not out there actually running the plays and he’s not playing against those guys Witten plays against every day. He has that knowledge that you can’t really have unless you play.”

The Cowboys thought enough of Swaim in May to acquire a 2015 seventh-round pick, which they used on him, for a 2016 sixth-round pick in a trade with the 49ers. He has performed well, and he has the Cowboys leaning toward keeping a fourth tight end.

“Swaim is a guy we’ve liked, really from OTAs,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “He’s stepped right in there and did a nice job in terms of stepping right in. He wasn’t very involved last year in the Longhorns' offense, but give our scouts a lot of credit. They really had a vision for him and what he could be for us, and he’s really been that and more.”