The Draft as always has been filled with many surprises thus far, and with the depth still available there is plenty left in the air. This Draft was always going to be peculiar, with so little talent at the skill positions it was touted early as one of the least exciting drafts in recent memory. The prizes to be found in this Draft were in the depth at the lines of scrimmage and the defensive back positions. I tend to believe that there are depending on how you look at it 12-16 players with actual 1st round grades. That is why the majority of pundits have mentioned the sweet spot of this Draft being in the 2nd and 3rd Rounds.
Every team grades prospects differently, which is why you see E.J. Manuel as the 1st Quarterback taken in the Draft when most believe Geno Smith to be the best at the position. With 32 teams picking in the 1st round, it is inconceivable to believe that everyone is going to stay put and get a blue-chip prospect. I’ll admit that I believed all along The Dallas Cowboys would trade out of the 18th pick if The Big 5 on the Offensive Line were gone. I did not expect to see The Dallas Cowboys pass on Sharrif Floyd, but when 22 other franchises pass on arguably the 3rd best player on the board; something has got to be off. In truth, I would have probably stayed put and picked Floyd, but I don’t work for The Dallas Cowboys, I can only give analysis to my readers.
November 24, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Travis Frederick (72) blocks Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (91) at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The major factor that causes Teams to pick by position is when there is a run on that certain position. Teams then can become very much enthralled with making sure they don’t miss out on the position in the run. Thursday Night there was a major run on Offensive Linemen; with the majority of the top graded Tackles and Guards off the board, Dallas came to the conclusion to make a trade. The Dallas Cowboys took the opportunity to garner another pick in the 3rd round, whilst also getting the top rated Center in the Draft.
Anger and disgust spewed through the audience as this trade was announced, because many believe Center is not a need on this Offensive Line. May I remind you that The Cowboys struggled mightily at this position the past few years? Phil Costa did play well in 2012, but he was banged up all season and wound up on IR. Mackenzy Bernadeau was signed because of his versatility to play both Guard and Center, yet he excelled at neither. David Arkin plays with almost zero strength and that is concerning for even a 4th round pick. Kevin Kowalski didn’t play a down last year due to his injury concerns. The Cowboys spent a 7th round pick on Ryan Cook, who played admirably in the opener, but could never get this line in-sync.
Travis Frederick was given a 2nd or 3rd round grade depending on whose board you look at. The one thing that he has that may be more valuable than anything else is his intelligence. He has been described by pundits as being a “typical Wisconsin Linemen.” The word typical is often used in a negative light, but in this case that is one of the greatest compliments he could receive. Wisconsin is known for their success with creating some of The NFL’s best “Fat-Guys” as Tony Romo calls them. The Center has to know all assignments and get his Line in place, while also giving blocking assignments to the line. The quarterback should not be telling these guys where to line up. Wisconsin has shown their ability to create intelligent Offensive Linemen that excel at the next level. Although some believe that Center isn’t a need for this organization, it’s arguable that every position on this Offensive Line could use an upgrade.
The Dallas Cowboys spent their 2nd round selection on Tight End Gavin Escobar. At 6’7 254lbs, he has proven his ability to be a legitimate threat for opposing Defenses. The “boos” were evident on Day 2 following Tony Casillas’ announcement, because again fans believe this is a position of strength, not a need. To that I say really? The NFL is definitely a passing league and The New England Patriots, who are consistently a top offense year-in and out have guided The NFL to bringing back the Tight End. Tight Ends are imperative in blocking but also as receivers in the slot and make great red zone targets. I don’t need to preach that to Cowboys fans, because Jason Witten may go down as the greatest tight end in history when he’s done, but that’s just it. Is this team just going to stop using the Tight End as frequent when Witten hangs up his cleats? James Hanna really showed a lot of promise for a 4th round pick; but Escobar is a real big and nasty Tight End. He needs work in his blocking schematics and techniques, but he offers Tony Romo 2 capable young targets and 1 sure-fire Hall of Famer at the position.
With their first 3rd round pick, The Dallas Cowboys selected Baylor Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. When it comes to Offensive weapons, you can never have enough. Miles Austin has shown his inability at times to stay healthy, and although Dez Bryant is coming off a breakout year, behind them you have 1 receiver in Dwayne Harris who has shown flashes of play-making ability and others such as Danny Coale who was injured and Cole Beasley a UDFA best suited as a slot receiver in certain packages. Williams was the highest rated receiver in yards last season. He has some size and great hands and offers The Dallas Cowboys more depth at a position that is terrifying if any of the Top 2 gets significantly injured. In honesty, depending on how Williams and the rest of these guys perform this year, Dallas may unload some cap relief if Austin is inconsistent.
The Dallas Cowboys used their second 3rd round pick on Free-Safety J.J. Wilcox. This is by far the most intriguing pick so far. J.J. Wilcox is a play-maker He isn’t afraid to hit anyone, and for such a short period of time at his position, he just seems natural. If you remember my last mock had The Dallas Cowboys drafting him, and I’m proud of that pick. This team has been handicapped at Safety at times, I’m not declaring Wilcox as the savior, but one thing is certain this kid can play and he never gives up.
The picks by the Cowboys have been exactly what Jason Garrett has wanted; guys that work hard at their craft, and play hard on the field every Sunday. This Draft is not over yet, but allow me to calm the nerves of Cowboys Fans all over, because in the end The Cowboys don’t go by every other team’s boards, they have their own. Today was filled with teams taking names that none of you have heard of but they were selected because that franchise believed they fit their plan. When teams draft players using needs as their key they usually fail. The approach so far has been intriguing and should not be overlooked. So for those whom are panicking: Please step off the ledge, take your heads out of the oven, and put your razor blades away; there is plenty of hope alive and 3 more rounds for The Dallas Cowboys.