Going into the NFL Draft, it was rumored the Dallas Cowboys had 15 players they coveted on their big board within the first round. Selecting at #18, it was expected that at least one of those players would drop into their collective laps. Apparently, that was not the case. And the Cowboys ended the night getting laughed off the NFL Network.
Oct 21, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones point to the fans prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Sitting at #18, the Cowboys’ Draft War Room decided players like defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Sylvester Williams, offensive tackle Justin Pugh, safety Eric Reid and defensive end Bjoern Werner were all unworthy of that high a pick. Scouting at it’s finest, I’m sure. Instead, they opted to trade down finding a willing partner in the already talent-overloaded San Fransisco 49ers. They swap first round picks (and a little saliva), and the Boy’s get an additional third round pick. This was not a totally surprising move simply because moving down for more picks is a Jones’ family tradition. Because of the depth in this year’s draft, it seemed most NFL teams in the first round wanted to trade down, if they could.
That left Dallas sitting with the 31st pick in the first round. What was already a long night for Cowboy fans, became excruciating. One-by-one names we have seen throughout countless mock drafts for the last three months began to come off the board. Finally, after more than three hours , it was time for the Cowboys to make their first selection. Would it be safety Jonathan Cyprien, linebacker Manti Te’o (I see you snickering), or maybe even running back Eddie Lacy?
With the 31st pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select…(snore)…um…(cough)….Travis Frederick, Center, Wisconsin.
I’m sorry, who? During a phone interview afterwards, even Fredericks’ himself was surprised by his first round selection:
"“I was a little surprised. I thought that I was probably going to fit somewhere in the second round, but Dallas had showed a lot of interest in me throughout the process.”"
According to Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett, Frederick was the highest rated player on their big board at the time. Seriously? That’s either some serious grass-roots scouting or that big board is fairly thin. Regardless, Garrett said he loves the kid’s position flexibility. Frederick started at both guard and center for one year each during his final two seasons at Wisconsin.
Vice President and Jerry Jones “mini-me”, Stephen Jones suggested the center was undervalued by most teams, but not all. And they were actually afraid Frederick would not make it to their pick in the second round. NFL Network Draft Analyst Mike Mayock disagreed as he had Frederick listed out with a third round grade. Most others didn’t even have him rated that high.
Oct 20, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Travis Frederick (72) during warmups prior to the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Frederick is a not a good athlete, by any means, and had terrible workouts. Just how bad is he? Frederick is actually the slowest center to be drafted by an NFL team in the last 20 years. One AFC personnel man, via the Dallas Morning News, actually said “His feet are so (expletive) slow. He’s beginning to scare me the more I watch him. ”
But what Frederick lacks in athleticism, he makes up in brains. He is rumored to have scored a 34 of a possible 50 on the Wonderlic test. That just might make him the smartest player in the NFL Draft. (Maybe he can tutor Morris Claiborne?) Frederick says he likes to take a cerebral approach to playing Football. That will be a nice change of pace for the Cowboys. He is also graduating as a Junior with a degree in Computer Engineering. Is it illegal to block a defender in the face with a Macbook Pro?
Don’t get me wrong. I like the player. I just don’t like the pick. Especially with so many other needs and so much better talent still on the board. How about we take a chance that old “cement shoes” here is hanging around in the third round?
This is the kind of choice that gets coaches and scouting departments fired. And it should. I personally still want a shot at the guy who said Julius Jones and Stephen Jackson possessed equal talent. Anyone wanna form some kind of vigilantly posse and track him down? I’m free on Tuesday.
Well, the Cowboys have three more picks to screw up tonight. But if the laughter gets too loud, I might just have to turn the channel. Don’t get me wrong (again). I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy. But just not at the expense of my favorite team.