Maximize the production of Tony Romo’s remaining years by delivering all the help he needs, further adding to his toolbox.
That was the loud and crystal clear message sent by this year’s draft crop. As a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, it’s more than comforting to know that the Cowboys’ coaches and executives are fully committed to maximizing the talents of their franchise quarterback (a franchise quarterback who will see his overall duties increase this season as written into his contract).
That was the message, but it was not received well by the overwhelming majority of Cowboys Nation.
I personally spent most of Thursday night and ALL DAY Friday trying desperately to talk my Cowboys family and friends off the proverbial cliff. Every fan I talked to over the weekend was ready to renounce their fandom and burn Jerry Jones at the stake…alive.
Luckily, I spoke with each and every one of them and was able to hold off on their renouncement, and of course keep Jerry alive. I suppose I’m just not the “knee-jerk reaction” kind of Cowboys fan like the rest of my family down here south of Houston.
And of course it did not help the soothing process when the draft “experts” released their annual draft grades. I think the highest grade I saw was a C for our draft crop, however most pundits shelled out the D’s and F’s. I’m also pretty sure I saw a couple F- grades, if that’s even possible. But draft grades are a lot like mock drafts; they are entertaining at best but should not be viewed as concrete analysis.
Needless to say, I had a long weekend!
As the draft wore on, the message became louder and clearer; “Romo Friendly.”
“Romo Friendly” means more help for number nine. More help in the form of another pass-catching tight end, yet another playmaker at wide receiver, a “Murray-like” workhorse back-up running back and of course one of, if not the best center in the NFL draft.
Let’s talk about that center (who becomes just the 2nd first round center in Cowboys history joining center Robert Shaw as the top pick in 1979), because that’s where the majority of the controversy stemmed from Thursday night and into Friday.
Of course, we could have likely landed Frederick in a later round, perhaps even with the 80th pick in the 3rd round. But the Cowboys’ brass was simply not willing to risk it. They were not willing to risk losing the player they had set their sights on from early on in the draft process, especially with eight offensive linemen going in the first 30 picks. Frankly, it does not matter what other scouts and draft experts (namely Mayock, McShay and Mel) had Travis Frederick rated. It only matters how high the Dallas Cowboys’ coaches, scouts and executives had him rated.
And with the “Big 5” offensive linemen off the board in the first 10 picks, and Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker off the board immediately afterwards, we then made landing Frederick priority number one. Yes, LSU safety Eric Reid was there at 18, but our brass though the safety was “too rich” at that spot. Yes, both UNC’s Sylvester Williams and Florida’s Shariff Floyd were also there to be had at 18. However they made it quite evident they were not sold on Floyd’s pass rushing ability and also did not like the fit of him as our new 3-technique defensive tackle. Same goes for Williams; they wanted a more natural athletic 3-technique tackle as oppose to a bigger run-stuffing 1-technique as both Williams and Floyd were projected.