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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

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