One thing we have learned about Dallas Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson is that he does not play with much fear. And, actually, that was something that star linebacker Micah Parsons says he figured out relatively early in his interactions with Ferguson.
Ferguson was the team’s fourth-round pick in 2022 after having starred at Wisconsin for four seasons. When he arrived at training camp, Parsons said Ferguson “never heard of me,” which is unlikely because the two had faced off against each other when Parsons was at Penn State. (Besides, everyone has heard of Micah Parsons.)
Still, Parsons explained on his podcast, “I knew Jake would be a problem because we had a little altercation in camp. He never heard of me, so I don’t want to try anything like that. But we had gotten into it, and he kind of pushed me after the play. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s how you want to do things around here?’ And you know, he kinda was like, ‘Oh yeah, bring it.’
“That confidence, that kinda ego that he had to him, I was like, this guy, he is gonna be a fighter. And he is a guy who is going to bring some energy to this offense.”
Jake Ferguson Has Become a Top TE
No doubt, Ferguson has done just that. He is currently eighth in the NFL in yardage among tight ends, with 570, and 10th in receptions, at 51. He has five touchdowns, just one off the tight-end lead shared by Mark Andrews, George Kittle and Jake LaPorta.
Not bad for a guy who had been known primarily as a blocking tight end. It was clear Ferguson would take on a bigger role in the Cowboys offense this season with the departure of Dalton Schultz to Houston, but the confidence that the organization had in him appeared shaky. That’s because the Cowboys used their second-round pick last year on Luke Schoonmaker, another tight end, rather than addressing several other roster needs.
Ferguson has come through, though.
“He has an extra gear, no doubt, but Jake has been tremendous,” coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “I mean, you just love his passion, and he’s increasing the identity of our play style on offense, and that’s been huge, obviously, his production speaks for itself.”
Micah Parsons Pleads for More Cowboys Pro Bowl Votes
One thing Ferguson was not known for, in college or entering the draft, was his athleticism. He was a reliable blocker and pass-catcher, but his 31.5-inch vertical was not evoking any images of Michael Jordan. And yet, here in December of his second NFL season, it is a leap that has gotten Ferguson the most notice.
The leap came on a play early in the fourth quarter against the Eagles, on a short out pattern and a pass from Dak Prescott. Ferguson turned upfield, saw an Eagles defensive back ready to dive for his ankles and, instead, leapt over him. Ferguson landed and fell forward for another five yards.
“Everyone’s talking about Air Ferg. Air Ferguson. And he told a fan that he would jump over an Eagle,” Parsons said on the podcast. “And that’s Ferg. First of all, I want everyone to go vote for Jake Ferguson, I think he is having a great year and I think he should be a Pro Bowl tight end. The way he has come in and stepped up this year, it’s unbelievable. Go vote for Jake Ferguson right now. He’s an absolute dog. He doesn’t say much but he talks a lot of trash.”