The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be interested in filling the void of now-retired center Travis Frederick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.
The Dallas Cowboys knew they were going to lose many of their starters in free agency this offseason. Having to use their exclusive franchise tag to retain quarterback Dak Prescott and signing wide receiver Amari Cooper to a five-year, $100 million extension absorbed plenty of salary-cap space.
So starters like cornerback Byron Jones, defensive end Robert Quinn, tight end Jason Witten, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, wide receiver Randall Cobb, and safety Jeff Heath will all be playing elsewhere this upcoming season. But the biggest loss could be that of All-Pro center Travis Frederick.
in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cowboys traded back from the 18th overall selection in the first round to the pick No. 31 to select Frederick out of Wisconsin. It was a controversial choice at the time as some believed the Cowboys overreached for the rookie center as many analysts had a second-to-fourth round projection on him.
The gamble paid off for Dallas as Frederick played a total of six seasons, earning five Pro Bowl nominations, and three All-Pro selections. He surprisingly up and retired last month at the age of 29 after struggling with an autoimmune disease that forced him to miss the entire 2018 regular season.
Frederick’s sudden absence could have left the Cowboys in a bad way. Luckily, Dallas had already re-signed reserve center Joe Looney to a one-year deal just days before the retirement announcement. Looney started in all 16 games that Frederick missed in 2018.
The Cowboys also used a third-round selection last year on Penn State guard/center Connor McGovern, who might be pegged as the future of the position. With Looney playing the role of Obi-Wan to McGovern’s Luke, Dallas looks to have Frederick’s void already filled.
But not so fast. According to longtime NFL writer Peter King of NBC Sports, the Cowboys are rumored to be very interested in securing their long-term replacement for Frederick in the upcoming draft. Potentially using their first-round selection to do so.
"” ‘It’s too high for a center,’ said one personnel wag, ‘but they love the Michigan center (Cesar Ruiz), and they could trade down a few spots and still be sure of getting him.’ Interesting: a plug-and-play heir to Travis Frederick.”"
The Cowboys’ brass thinking they can catch lightning in a bottle twice is the most Jerry Jones thing ever. So it’s plausible that the longtime owner and general manager and with his front office believe they can try to trade down once again and still land the player they covet.
As for the prospect himself, Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz is a 6-foot-3, 307 offensive lineman who was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree according to mgoblue.com. Of his 31 career starts for the Wolverines over three seasons, Ruiz played 26 games at center and five at right guard.
Pro Football Focus named Ruiz as the best pass blocking center in college football last season as he allowed just seven total pressures in 447 snaps of pass protection. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks has Ruiz ranked as his third-highest guard/center in the upcoming NFL draft citing his biggest issue as a lack of finishing skills. Walter Football currently has the Michigan center projected to be a second-to-third round selection next week.
So, let me get this straight. The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be interested in trading down in the first round of the upcoming draft in order to select a center that some analysts have given a Day Two round grade. Anyone else here having a severe case of déjà vu?