Dec. 4, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones (left) reacts alongside owner Jerry Jones prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys First Round Draft Grade: F

The Dallas Cowboys embarrassed themselves and their fans on Thursday night by making two boneheaded moves that most likely will have negative repercussions, if not just in the later rounds of the draft, but for possibly seasons to come.  Although their selection of center Travis Frederick filled a need in the interior of their offensive line, the circumstances which surrounded his selection were indicative of a bumbling war room, back on it’s heels, hastily acting out after all their preferred players were off the board. That is why the Cowboy’s first round draft grade is an “F”.

The first of these two potentially devastating moves was the decision to trade down from the 18th pick in the first round to the 31st. Finding a willing trade partner in the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys gained an extra 3rd round pick  (74th overall). First off, this was a bad decision and probably one made in hast. The NFL Draft Trade Value Chart called for the 49ers second round pick (61st overall) to make this trade equal value. San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh must have been laughing his a** off.

Although the Cowboys’ collective adamantly defended the trade in their post-draft press conference, it is pretty clear by the description of the war room reactions observed by the Dallas Morning News, that they knew this was a bad deal from the start:

“Garrett and Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski didn’t look happy after Stephen Jones hung up the phone. They were both slumped back in their chairs. Garrett, at one point, had a blank look across his face as he started rubbing his forehead with his hand. Ciskowski and Stephen Jones also had an animated exchange. It was a rare show of emotion by Ciskowski.”

What makes this move look even more idiotic is what the New England Patriots were able to get for their pick later in the first round. The Pats gave up the 29th overall selection to the Minnesota Vikings for….wait for it….FOUR draft picks! Not only that, these selections are in the second (No. 52), third (No. 83), fourth (No. 120), and seventh rounds (No. 229)!  When this trade went through I can imagine Jerry Jones shooting a disapproving look over at his son, Stephen, like he just crashed the family car.

The second infamous move of the night was the selection of Frederick. The Wisconsin offensive lineman is a smart, high character kid with a good mean streak. He can play both guard and center positions. Jerry Jones promises that Frederick will be a starter this season. Of course, with the current state of our offensive line, that could probably be said about half the prospects in the draft. The negatives on Frederick are he is a terrible athlete. He has the distinction of being the slowest center drafted in the last 20 years. Frederick will need to take two buses and a cab to make it to the second level of any NFL defense.

Although I like the player, I hate the pick. Frederick is the most over-reached for player in the entire draft so far. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock graded him as a third round selection. Although ESPN Draft Guru Mel Kiper Jr. listed him as his highest rated center, even Frederick himself thought he would not go until sometime in the second round. Again, I like the pick. But he could have been had in the second round. Especially, if you had made the proper trade with the 49ers and gotten a second rounder instead of a third. But the bumbling Cowboys’ front office hurt themselves by not getting proper value for their initial trade, which in-turn caused them to over-reach for the offensive lineman they desperately wanted and needed.

The selection of Frederick helps the offensive line. No doubt. And the player himself deserves a much higher grade. But it is the method in which Dallas went about getting to that pick that deserves a big, fat “F” grade.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones NFL Draft Travis Frederick

  • Todd Toombs

    Sadly. It’s all true. Well stated. Should we just start looking ahead to next year? Al Davis lives on!

  • luckster1973

    I just can’t believe they screwed this up so badly. What the hell were they thinking?! This organization is doomed for a long, long time with Jerry and Jerry Jr. running the show. Sad, sad, sad.

  • romo2witten

    It is dumb to try to judge whether the player was worth the pick at this point. If he turns out to be a pro bowler everyone who slammed the Cowboys will “forget” they were wrong. The trade value they got is the problem I have with the first round. It seems like they should have gotten a little more from the 49ers.

    • Troy Spurlock

      I agree. That s the point I m trying to make. If you are going to trade back, we should have gotten a 2nd and a 3d round pick.. Just look what New England got for the 29th pick.

  • william Jenkins

    Jerry has gotten old a d senile needs to sell the team and leave.I give the first round pick a great big…. F- or worse an INC

  • Old Frog

    Apparently JJ and son think they have come up with a new value chart that surpasses the Johnson value chart everyone goes by. They seem to think the slope of the chart is too steep for the second half of the 1st round through the 2nd and 3rd rounds so they have flattened it giving more value to the 3rd round pick they got and are calling this a win. Even if they are right, it doesn’t change the perception they should have gotten more value for the 18th pick from GMs still using the “outdated” chart, vis-a-vis the Pats trade for their 29th pick. Only time will tell if they are right but personally, I think they watched a few too many “Money Ball” reruns on cable TV.

  • Juanito Juanito

    cowboys are a shame, just an extra 3rd round, for that trade cmon

  • Edtorres1977

    No one is noticing that he is the #1 center on everyone’s draft board he can play both guard and center. The entire media is saying he was a late 2nd or 3rd rd pick but how long will the number one center last? Ok fine it’s not a sexy pick…but the the patriot’s made the pick it would have been genius!

  • BajaMan

    Time will tell if Frederick was a sound pick or not. He is an intelligent kid, and if he works hard, he might even get faster.

  • The New Reality

    Move over Al Davis, it’s time for Jerry Jones to shine! The new laughing stock of the NFL!

  • Leno

    Jerry, please sell the team, your gm decisions have destroyed a once thriving franchise. Another year of mediocrity is sure to follow. As a cowboy fan for life I am hating football now, whew.

  • RoninSRM

    Ok so who do you take in that round worthy of 18th pick AND WILL START?
    Nobody, that’s who. So they trade out with the only team willing to do a deal, SF.
    They pick a incredibly smart kid,in a position of need at the end of the round saving about 300k in the process. We went into the season needing OL help. Had they traded up to get Cooper or Warmack, they lose in the public opinion polls.
    So they get the guy they needed albeit a round too early. If the guy anchors the position for 8-10 years (and Wisconsin is known to produce superior linemen) time will tell.

  • jrcowboy49

    Dallas had notable prospects such as defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and safety Eric Reid at No. 18. Instead, they worked out a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to swap first round picks and acquire an additional third. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The Cowboys would move down a few spots, gain an extra mid-rounder and still have a shot at drafting a top-rated offensive lineman. The plan backfired. The next two picks (19th and 20th) were tackle Justin Pugh and guard Kyle Long. Then, the plan backfired again. The 49ers used the 18th pick to select Reid, the Vikings snagged Floyd, and just when it seemed like the Cowboys were going to get a steal in defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, the Broncos took him at 28. Watching all of this go down on the live stream of the Cowboys War Room made it evident that this was the worst case scenario. Jerry Jones sat in the middle of the room, red-faced and shuffling papers about. Jason Garrett sat to his right, who seemed to get angrier every time Stephen Jones, sitting to Jerry’s left, got on the phone with somebody. It was clear that Plan A and Plan B had both failed. The results were picking a position of need, but not necessarily a player of desire. It seems that this was more of panic pick and less of a well thought out strategy. Trading down sounds nice in theory, but if it means missing out on a couple of top-rated prospects and being forced into a player you don’t want, then you have to question the value of your return. Will the added third rounder, No. 74 overall, provide enough production to cover for the likes of Reid and Floyd? We have now witnessed a draft devoid of quality picks of need. A TE who can’t block and not needed, a WR who is a distant need, a S that is average, which brings us full circle to the idiot and senile Jerrah!

  • A$AP Chris

    Wow, so many ignorant people on this comment thread including the author of this article. None of you know how a draft board works.