The 2013 NFL Draft was critical for the Dallas Cowboys. They had to get this one right. After finishing 8-8 for the last two seasons and barely missing the playoffs both years, head coach Jason Garrett needed a strong draft class to bolster his roster going into the 2013-14 season. But after completing what is probably the storied franchise’s worst draft in over ten years, Garrett will be lucky to keep his job, much less make the post season.
The Cowboys’ underwhelming draft started by trading down in the first round. The Cowboys traded the 18th pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the 31st selection and a third round pick (74th overall). According to many NFL Draft Trade Value Charts, Dallas should have received a second round pick for that move, not a third. The physical reaction in the Dallas War Room after the trade clearly showed frustration with this decision. Assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski didn’t look happy after vice president Stephen Jones hung up the phone with the 49ers. The two had an animated exchange afterwards. Garrett, dumbfounded I’m sure, was said to have looked like his dog just died.
With the 31st pick, the Cowboys selected the top rated center in the Draft, Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin. Many experts, including Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock, expected Frederick to last until the third round. An although the Wisconsin center/guard is a solid pick, he does not possess first round talent. You expect more then just “solid” with your top pick. You want a Pro Bowler. You want a future Hall of Famer. Frederick is just solid and he could have been selected later in the draft. The next highest rated center, Alabama’s Barrett Jones, didn’t get picked until the middle of the fourth round.
With their second round pick, the Cowboys choose a tight end. Dallas had needs on the offensive line, defensive line, defensive backfield, offensive backfield, wide receiver corps, and possibly at quarterback. Tight end is not on that list. Still, Jerry Jones decided he wanted Gavin Escobar from San Diego State University. Let’s not beat around the bush. Gavin Escobar looks a lot like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, minus his speed and blocking ability. And Jerry Jones wants to run the Patriot’s tight end-friendly offense in Dallas. Here’s the problem with that: Jason Garrett is not Bill Belichick. And although I like Tony Romo, he’s not Tom Brady. And what does bringing in a second round tight end do to the development of the tight end you drafted last year, James Hanna? It stunts his growth, that’s what it does. Escobar may be a great catching tight end, but this was the wrong pick in the wrong round for this franchise.
With the first of their two third round selections, Dallas selected Terrance Williams, wideout from Baylor. This is a classic case of falling love with a local guy. But everything I’ve seen about this kid screams Kevin Ogletree. With other higher rated names like California’s Keenan Allen, Louisiana Tech ‘s Quinton Patton and Texas’ speedster Marquise Goodwin still on the board, taking Williams was a pure homer pick. And with so many other needs left unaddressed, the location of this pick is simply mind-boggling.
With their final third round selection, the Cowboys selected safety J.J. Wilcox. Finally, they address a need again. Unfortunately, this kid is not ready to help you immediately. This is a developmental player who played only one year at safety. The former half-back and slot receiver will now be a special teams player until he improves himself.
Dallas had their shot at getting a quality starting safety like LSU’s Eric Reid, but Stephen Jones said Reid was “too rich” to pick at #18. That’s funny coming from the son of a billionaire. Instead, the 49ers trade the Cowboys for that pick and select…Reid. Guess he wasn’t “too rich” for the team that made it to the Super Bowl last season, huh? The Cowboys also passed on safeties Matt Elam (Florida) and Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International), who were both taken back-to-back after Dallas’ pick at #31.
And just as Dallas appeared it would start addressing some needs, they turnaround and select B.W. Webb with their fourth round pick, a corner back out of William & Mary. With Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick firmly entrenched in the corner positions, this pick this high in the draft is simply idiotic and will most likely cost someone their job. This should have been the spot the Cowboys took a chance and selected running back Marcus Lattimore. Or how about UCLA’s running back Johnathan Franklin? I could have even seen Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones here. Instead, we get a special teams player who doesn’t like to tackle and who could “possibly” contribute in dime packages. I understand you need corners and linebackers to fill the special teams roster, but get those players in as undrafted free agents, not in the fourth round of the NFL Draft! This is getting ridiculous.
The one saving grace of this entire draft class could be the Cowboys’ fifth round selection of Joseph Randle, running back from Oklahoma State. ESPN Draft Guru Mel Kiper Jr. named Randle this year’s Alfred Morris. The OSU star led the Big 12 with 1,417 rushing yards last season, hitting pay-dirt 14 times. At 6-foot-4 and 204 pounds, Randle is a physical runner who is a good blocker and he also has a good pair of hands. Unfortunately, he doesn’t possess blazing speed as he had relatively slow combine 40 times of 4.54, 4.60 and 4.63. Still, this pick at least make sense and is a great value in the fifth round. Randle could be the only reason this draft class isn’t considered one of the worst in Dallas Cowboys’ history.
With the Cowboys’ final pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the final “thud” of what was a lame draft was ended appropriately. Dallas snatched South Carolina linebacker DeVonte Holloman from the jaws of undrafted free agency with their sixth round selection. The 6’2 Holloman played three years at safety before bulking up to 241 lbs. to play outside linebacker. Holloman, who is a Philadelphia Eagles fan and who’s father is a Washington Redskins fan, who now cashes his checks out of Dallas. Oh, one more thing. He was arrested in 2011 for a D.U.I. and suspended for the first two games of his final season by the university. Exactly what we needed! Another player with a D.U.I. issue. Bravo, Cowboys. Bravo.
Some of you may be asking yourselves: Why is this the worst mismanaged draft since 2000? Checkout the all-stars we selected back then:
2nd Round, 49th pick: Dwayne Goodrich, DB, Tennessee
4th Round, 109th pick: Kareem Larrimore, DB, West Texas A&M
5th Round, 144th pick: Michael Wiley, RB, Ohio St.
6th Round, 180th pick: Mario Edwards, DB, Florida St.
7th Round, 219th pick: Orantes Grant, LB, Georgia
Look at list of bums! And I mean that literally. I think most of them now live on the streets. Many may disagree and may think that the 2009 draft or even the 2001 draft is worse. Damn. There are so many to choose from, right?
But I consider the 2001 selection of quarterback Quincy Carter makes his class slightly better then the 2000 draft class. And although none of them are on the team anymore, the selections of linebacker Victor Butler, kicker David Buehler, quarterback Stephen McGee, and tight end John Phillips in 2009 are way less depressing then what went down in the year 2000.
What can not be disputed is that the Dallas Cowboy’s front office, coaching staff and scouting department should all be blamed for the way they mismanaged this year’s Draft. And the ultimate result is probably another lack-luster season. The only hope the Cowboys have now are in all those injured players from last year who should be returning to the roster.
Finally, I really do like some of these players. I do. I just don’t like the picks and how it all went down. That’s why I believe this has been one of the Cowboys’ worst drafts ever. But after almost twenty years with one playoff win under our belts, and the same general manager the entire time, did you really expect anything different?