Cowboys: Escobar Ready To Justify 2nd Round Pick?

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Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford (9) throws a pass under protection by guard Larry Warford (75) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Flashback to the 2013 NFL Draft.  The Dallas Cowboys entered in desperate need to bolster their flopping interior offensive line.  First priority…securing a true center.

Jerry Jones unbelievably banked on a subpar player (Phil Costa) holding down such a crucial position the prior 2 seasons.  Needless to say, Tony Romo paid a heavy price.

Fortunately, Jerry awoke to reality in 2013 and snagged Travis Frederick with his first selection.  Since, the top center of the draft has erased all concerns in the middle.

At guard, both spots were arguably as weak as center had been.  Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau constantly dealt with injuries, underperforming when healthy.

Second year, undrafted free agent Ronald Leary was to earn a starting shot.  He’d yet to play an NFL game and still had strong concerns over college knee injuries.

In a class loaded with NFL-ready guards, the Cowboys should’ve targeted a new starter.  As their 2nd round selection appeared, a starting caliber OG remained.

Kentucky’s Larry Warford is a massive, powerful blocker.  He surrendered just 1 sack his entire Senior season, dominating highly touted SEC linemen.

Several NFL scouts felt Warford was worthy of a 1st round grade…as did I.  Cowboys fans assumed they hit the jackpot.  (FYI, Warford started as a rookie for the Lions).

“With the 47th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select…”

GAVIN ESCOBAR,  Tight End,  San Diego State

In rolled the shock, frustration, and fury only Jerry Jones can conjure.  Dallas already featured star TE Jason Witten AND promising 2nd year TE James Hannah.

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  • David

    The thought that Dallas could have had a starting line of Smith, Warford, Frederick, Martin and Free makes me sick. Escobar better progress a lot this year. But unless he turns into a Pro Bowl player it will go down as another bad pick by the Cowboys in the early rounds when there was extreme value players in positions of need still available.

  • BradAustin

    David you are absolutely correct. Our OL would be simply mauling people like the old days with the line you mentioned. Regardless of how well Escobar can contribute as the #2 until Witten retires, there is no way to justify the pick. Maybe years later if he becomes the #1 and is a serious receiving threat. But even then, we had years to find someone to be the successor to Witten. He wasn’t even close to losing his magic at TE.

    What makes it much worse is Hannah showed real promise as a rookie in the #2 role. He wasn’t given much opportunity and still produced well for a rookie. The TE coach just the other day made a statement saying this Hannah guy has something. Well great, you’re now praising the #3 TE. What good does that do us?

    To me it will always go down as an absurd selection. Our guard situation was in complete disarray at that moment. If not for Leary stepping up, it would have been ugly at the position last season.

    Even if Witten and Escobar are very formidable as a pair next season, I’ll still always know the potential OL Jerry cost us would be even more valuable. Behind those beasts Murray would pound the ball for chunks of yards and a much higher average than he will now. That has far more benefits an overall offense than a formidable #2TE can produce….with exception to the Patriots. And Witten/Escobar are light years from the same size/speed combo Gronk/Hernandez played with.

  • Greg Hill

    Thanks Brad, very insightful, informative and true. I look forward to your next article.