There were many notable draft experts who openly questioned and downright chided the Dallas Cowboys for selecting Center Travis Frederick late in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. I have to admit even I had some doubts about how far the Cowboys reached to retain Frederick. While he is a big 6’3” 311 pound mauler hailing from the NFL offensive line football factory that is the University of Wisconsin, draft experts had questions about his quickness and movement.
I watched every down of the Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys preseason Hall of Fame game, and what I saw makes me think the Cowboys may have acquired the steal of the draft. Frederick looked calm, confident, and was communicating well throughout the game.
You could see him and even hear him audibly on the first play point out the “Mike” linebacker. Additionally, there was not one bobbled or missed hike while Frederick was at Center. When the Quarterback was over center the hand-off was smooth, and in the shotgun formation Frederick was perfect.
I hate to do this to you because I know it is painful, but recall last season’s final Washington Redskins game on December 30th when the Boys were beaten by the Skins 28-18. How often did we see the Redskins defense pressure straight up the gut in Tony Romo’s face? I remember well, and it seemed like every other play Romo was flat on his back. In this Hall of Fame game, Frederick did not once allow pressure up the middle. On a number of occasions, as on the first Cowboys touchdown, Frederick blocked down his man allowing Running Back Philip Tanner to run in for seven points.
Another play of note was during the first quarter when the Cowboys had the ball on their own 12 yard line; Frederick had a superior seal block at the second level completely taking the linebacker out of the play allowing Tanner to bust a long run straight up the middle for a 17 yard first down.
During the second quarter, Frederick further showed his versatility when the Cowboys moved him over to the right guard position. While he did not look as natural and fluid in the guard position, he did manage to hold his own. Two not so notable plays were when Frederick missed a block on a pull resulting in Running back Philip Tanner being destroyed, and later in the third quarter when Frederick’s man flushed rookie quarterback Alex Tanney out of the pocket and straight into a crushing tackle.
After the hit, once Tanney gathered himself, he is shown visibly saying “Wow!”…welcome to the NFL kid! But shortly before that, Frederick plowed a hole for running back Joseph Randle on a nice 9 yard run. Two mistakes by a rookie in his first game as a professional while playing his unnatural Guard position, in my opinion, is pretty good.
The bottom line is that Travis Frederick showed a veteran’s poise from the very first snap to his last play at the end of the third quarter. You could clearly see Frederick communicating with his line mates, and he never missed a snap. His pass and run protection was stellar, and he surprised me by beating the defensive lineman and getting to the second level on a number of downs, sealing off the linebacker for big runs. Finally, he showed great versatility in manning both the center and guard positions. I really liked what I saw out of Travis Frederick in his professional preseason debut, and I am sure Jerry Jones and his college scouting department must be feeling great too. What did you think about Travis Frederick’s professional debut?
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