With the NFL preseason coming to a merciful conclusion, let’s take a look and see how the 2013 Dallas Cowboys draft class has fared. You may recall the woefully low draft grades the “experts” gave to the Cowboys right after the draft.
Just to recap a few, ESPN’s Mel Kiper gave the Cowboys a C+, USA Today issued a D-, CBS Sports Pete Prisco gave a C, Yahoo Sports Jason Cole brutalized Dallas with the lowest grade I could find an F, Sporting News awards a C, Fox Sports Peter Schrager gives the Boys a C, and one of the highest Cowboys 2013 grades awarded by CBS Sports Rob Rang for an overall draft grade of B-.
Those grades would indicate a poor draft and continue the general media’s mantra that the Dallas Cowboys do not know how to draft players. With all of those low grades in mind, you would think that very few of the Cowboys 2013 class would make the roster, let alone show great value in the preseason, and you would be dead wrong. Not only did every one of this year’s draft picks make the roster, but many of them led the team in various categories.
1st Round (31 Overall) C Travis Frederick
The rookie from the University of Wisconsin had a stellar preseason. Frederick showed a veteran’s poise from his first play in Miami. You could clearly see Frederick communicating with his line mates, and he never missed a single snap. Both his pass and run protection was outstanding, 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. I believe the Cowboys have found a 10 year starting anchor for the offensive line.
2nd Round (47 Overall) TE Gavin Escobar
Escobar led all Cowboys Tight Ends with 11 receptions for 64 yards and 1 touchdown in five preseason games. He showed great ability to catch the ball when covered and was very crisp in his route running. Gavin came close to a second touchdown and improved his blocking as the preseason went along. In my opinion Escobar significantly outplayed veteran Tight End James Hanna (2 receptions for 9 yards in 5 games) and should start over him when the season begins.
3rd Round (74 Overall) WR Terrance Williams
While Terrance Williams only recorded 2 receptions for 16 yards in 5 preseason games, you could see small improvement every week. Wide receiver is arguably one of the hardest positions to learn in the NFL, and it often takes players well into their second or third years (example Dez Bryant) before they really transition into the professional game. While Williams had one of the weakest 2013 draft class showings, I still believe he has significant upside potential.
3rd Round (80 Overall) FS J.J. Wilcox
Rookie Free Safety J.J. Wilcox showed why the Dallas Cowboys were willing to wait late into the third round to draft a safety. Wilcox led the entire team with 21 combined tackles and had one interception. While he will continue to improve his angles and defensive ball skills, the converted from wide receiver to now safety flashed excellent open field tackling abilities and a knack for being around the ball. J.J.’s impressive, team leading preseason is hopefully a sign of things to come in the future.