(Editor's Note: With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 key players who are new to the Cowboys' roster, rookies and veterans alike. We'll continue the series with tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.)
How He Got Here: A former fifth-round selection out of Arkansas, Sprinkle joined the Cowboys after four seasons as a primary blocking tight end for divisional foe Washington. It was no surprise Dallas was in the market for a player like Sprinkle after the departure of Blake Bell this offseason. Outside of a 2019 season where he posted 26 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown, Sprinkle has been an afterthought in the passing game. Instead, his value to the Cowboys comes in pass blocking situations where he has steadily improved his grades since entering the league.
In 2020, he tallied just one grab on three targets over a full 16 game slate, six of which he started. Interestingly enough, according to Pro Football Focus, Sprinkle's two highest single-game pass blocking grades each came against the Cowboys. He scored a 77.8 in Week 7 (his highest grade), and a 76.1 on Thanksgiving.
What's Next: Sprinkle now falls directly in line for competition in a crowded tight end room with returner Sean McKeon and fellow newcomers Nick Eubanks and Artayvious Lynn - all looking to fill a majority blocking role while making a minor impact in the passing game behind Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. In the same role last season, Bell reeled in 11 catches for 110 yards while spending the majority of his time in the trenches, rather than running routes. An advantage that Sprinkle has over his competition, is that he's put together a season with significant production as a receiver as well as the experience of starting 33 of 59 career games in Washington.
Bet You Didn't Know: As mentioned earlier, Sprinkle had his best showings of the season as a blocker with the Cowboys on the other sideline. But some of his best receiving performances of his career have also come against Dallas. One of his two three-reception games as a professional came at AT&T Stadium in Week 17 of the 2019 season, and his only regular season reception of 2020 was against the Cowboys defense in Week 7.
Quotable: "I think what I do best is just using my size in the pass game, obviously run blocking, adding value to the team on my special teams. Just really doing whatever I can to do the hard work, the things that nobody really sees, and just trying to do whatever I can to be the best player for the team." - Jeremy Sprinkle