Before the 2013 draft, I blogged that Coach Jason Garrett needed an extraordinary draft in order to have the kind of season in 2013 to save his job. Let’s have a look at each pick while I provide a grade based on the player they drafted, how that pick fills needs on the Cowboys team in 2013, and does the pick represent value? “Reach” picks are frowned upon.
1st round: C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
After trading down, the Cowboys surprisingly selected a center. I was on board with the trade down which added a 3rd round pick from the abundantly blessed with picks 49ers. My issue with this pick isn’t that they drafted a center or the center they drafted but when they drafted him. Dallas pulled the trigger on a center about 60 picks too soon.
This pick qualifies as a reach by anyone’s standard. Some experts projected Frederick to go as late as the 4th round. Even Travis himself was surprised to be a first round selection while admitting he was thinking 2nd round, maybe. It’s a wonder that when Jerry Jones called him, that Travis didn’t assume he was being punked by some of his friends and hang up on Jerry. “Yeah right the Cowboys are picking me in the first. I told you guys to cut it out. I’m going to bed now so I will be rested when I get picked in the 4th round Saturday like all centers.”
Look I’m not saying Dallas doesn’t need help at center because they do, but centers in this draft could have been selected later like the 3rd or 4th rounds. The next center didn’t go off the board until the 4th round for example.
Quality safeties like Elam and Cyprien were available at that point as the Super Bowl champ Ravens wisely picked Elam next at #32. The Ravens staff must have been a bit shocked to see Dallas pass on him there. Either safety could play right away for Dallas.
How much Frederick can help them remains to be seen and he may turn out to be a good center but picking a guy at #31, when he could be picked around #90 or so, is just foolish. Fredrick appears to be an intelligent player described as very coachable but not very quick. The Cowboys are hoping he has success like Wisconsin rookie center Peter Konz had with the Falcons last year. As a first round pick, he better help sooner than later.
Dishing the real GRADE: D
2nd round: TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
With their second pick, Dallas picked 6’6 TE Escobar who has nice hands and speed. Escobar appears to be a talented receiver but not much help at blocking. More of a receiver than TE one might assume. He led his team in catches, yards, and TDs
While I think Escabor could develop into an effective offensive weapon, I’m not sure where exactly he will fit into a line up that already has last year’s pick, TE James Hanna.
Escobar represents a bit of a reach by Dallas again as he was projected to go in the third round. Once again, I think higher rated prospects were available that could have had more of an immediate impact for the Cowboys instead of a TE that will struggle to get playing time.
Dishing the real GRADE: C-
3rd round: WR Terrance Williams, Baylor
Williams, who is from Dallas, was expected by many to go by the 2nd round so getting him here in the third is not considered a reach. Williams offers a nice combination of size and speed (6’2, 208 and 4.48/40).
I’m just not sure how Williams will fit into the Cowboys current corp of WRs that seemed to be a position in pretty good shape prior to the draft. Like Escobar, I think Williams is a good prospect but will battle for playing time among several good receivers. Romo only gets to throw one football so how do all these guys add productivity?
Dishing the real GRADE: B
3rd round SS JJ Wilcox, Ga Southern
With their second pick in the 3rd, Dallas selected a much need safety JJ Wilcox. Wilcox has only played safety for one season as he came over from the offensive side of the ball. He looks like he is going to eventually develop into a solid safety but to expect him to start right away, is not likely. He will help on special teams immediately but he will likely need some time to develop at safety.
It’s a disappointing pick considering the Cowboys really need help at safety immediately and could have found it in round 1. My criticism with this pick is Wilcox doesn’t help right away but may next year.
Dishing the real GRADE: B-
4th round: CB B.W. Webb, William and Mary
In the 4th round Dallas continues to surprise and jump around all over the place by selecting a CB. By no means would I predict Webb will not be a good NFL CB but my question is how does he help Dallas in 2013? Dallas could have used a DT or an OT with this pick but they add a CB after signing two CBs last year Carr and Claiborne. Scandrick is locked into a big contract to cover the slot so Webb may not see much playing action.
Webb had no INTs last season but he is a pretty good punt returner. However Dallas has WR Harris to return punts so again, I don’t see how Webb contributes next season other than provide depth. Feels like a Mike Jenkins replacement.
Dallas had needs bigger than CB and there were much higher ranked prospects on the board.
Dishing the real GRADE: C
5th round: RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St.
The Cowboys released RB Felix Jones so getting a RB to back up Murray was a need. Drafting Randle here in the 5th made sense and I like the pick. Randle led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,417 yards and 14 TDs. He runs with both power and speed and can be an effective receiver out of the backfield with 28 catches last year.
Randle will be not only be a solid backup for Murray, but will no doubt see plenty of playing time rotating into the Cowboys offense. Randle also is a willing blocker on pass plays with blitzers. A solid pick here for Dallas.
Dishing the real GRADE: B+
6th round: OLB DeVonte Holloman, S. Carolina
Holloman was the Cowboys last pick in the draft and since he had a DUI in college, he should fit right in with the Cowboys defensive players. With the Cowboys transitioning to a 4-3 defense in 2013, I can’t say that I thought they would draft an OLB. At South Carolina, Holloman played some strong safety but as a he added size, they tried playing him closer to the line. I have no idea where the Cowboys plan to line Holloman up in the 4-3 defense.
Holloman provides good hits on tackles and I like his physical style of play. He also played the “Spur” in college which is kind of a hybrid LB and safety combined. Dallas may plan to use him as a Will LB in the 4-3 defense or perhaps they will add him in coverage more like a strong safety. Either way he will provide depth.
I don’t hate the pick by any means and he was projected to go a little earlier than the 6th round so he represents some value. But it’s just tough to figure how he fits in the picture with a 4-3 defense.
Dishing the real GRADE: C
OVERALL FINAL DRAFT GRADE: C-
While Dallas did get a much needed RB to assist their starter Murray, they failed to effectively address many needs they will have going to a 4-3 defense. They added depth but not the type players that will really make a difference in 2013.
MY FINAL TAKE:
The center, Travis Frederick, may help their offensive line but that pick was the definition of a “reach”. WR Williams and TE Escobar may turn out to be good picks eventually but their contribution in 2013 will be minimal.
The Cowboys dreadful running game is still in trouble in 2013 with only adding a center, a backup RB, and more receivers. And new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was only given a project safety, a backup CB, and a unidentified position player to help him implement the 4-3.
I fear Jason’s fate in 2013 has been sealed with this draft.