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Draft review: Dallas Cowboys

Travis Frederick AP

After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Dallas Cowboys.  

What they needed: Defensive line, offensive line, safety, running back, wide receiver.

Who they got:
Round 1: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin.
Round 2: Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State.
Round 3: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor.
Round 3: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern.
Round 4: B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary.
Round 5: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State.
Round 6: DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina.

Where they hit: Frederick will be an immediate starter along the interior of the offensive line, likely at center. Given the Cowboys’ line issues, he was a need pick. Wilcox also has a chance to play early, given the Cowboys’ muddled picture at safety. Moreover, Randle could see some snaps in Year One; he has a real chance to be DeMarco Murray’s backup.

Down the road, Williams could eventually replace Miles Austin or Dez Bryant in the Cowboys’ lineup. Austin is $5.5 million in 2014 and about $6.9 million in 2015, per Rotoworld figures. Also. Bryant will be a free agent after the 2014 campaign.

Overall, this could be a fairly useful draft class for Dallas.

Where they missed: The Cowboys didn’t add a single defensive lineman — a real surprise. In trading down from No. 18 to No. 31 in Round One, they passed on tackles Sharrif Floyd (No. 23, Minnesota) and Sylvester Williams (No. 28, Denver) as well as end Bjoern Werner (No. 24, Indianapolis). Also, Datone Jones (No. 26, Green Bay) may have been able to play end and tackle in Dallas’ 4-3 front. Then, in Round Two, the Cowboys took Escobar instead of tackle Johnathan Hankins (No. 49, N.Y. Giants) or end Margus Hunt (No. 53, Cincinnati).

The Cowboys have a solid front four with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer at end and Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher at tackle. However, will the Cowboys’ D-line depth be good enough?

Impact rookies: Frederick will learn on the job, with Wilcox having the second-best shot at being in the Week One lineup. Williams, Escobar and Randle could also see the field as rookies, and both may be just an injury away from being thrust into the starting lineup.

Long-term prospects: This is a pivotal season for head coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys have made a long-term commitment to Tony Romo, reaffirming their belief in their starting quarterback. That said, Romo is 33. Ware will be 31 in July. The time is now for Dallas. Viewed through that lens, the selection of Frederick seems reasonable, if unpopular. Looking ahead, it’s quite clear the Cowboys will have to continue adding to the lines on both sides of the ball in the drafts to come.

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40 Responses to “Draft review: Dallas Cowboys”
  1. fastspecv says: Apr 30, 2013 8:24 PM

    I thought that the Cowboys actually had a pretty good draft. People didn’t like the Frederick pick but good centers aren’t a dime a dozen and they needed to give Romo more time to actually key his receivers run their routes. People didn’t seem to like the fact that the Cowboys drafted for their needs and not for the big name picks.

  2. fissels says: Apr 30, 2013 8:24 PM

    A fair and thoughtful analysis. Thank you Mike

  3. brasho says: Apr 30, 2013 8:25 PM

    I’m a total Cowboy-hater, but Sean Lissemore and former 2nd round pick Brian Price could be excellent depth at DT. Lissemore is quick and active and Price has tons of potential if he can only stay healthy and get his act together.

    At defensive end, they are seriously lacking in depth. They didn’t even bother signing a defensive end as an UDFA. Rather puzzling considering no selections in the draft, perhaps the Cowboys believe they have depth at DE.

  4. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 30, 2013 8:26 PM

    Frederick will be expected to start at center after reaching for him sooner than they needed to.

    In the second, I thought guard Larry Warford would have been an outstanding pick and would have helped the interior line immediately.

    Holloman wasn’t talked about here but he just may represent the biggest value pick. An excellent tackler and good in coverage too.

    This Dallas draft had major missed opportunities.

  5. 4thqtrsaint says: Apr 30, 2013 8:28 PM

    Wouldn’t shock me if they signed Sedrick Ellis.

  6. redfield11 says: Apr 30, 2013 8:29 PM

    did not expect a favorable review….

  7. mauicat1 says: Apr 30, 2013 8:37 PM

    There is an old adage which could be used here. “A lawyer who has himself for a client is a fool”. Well. the same could be said of an owner in the NFL. With Jerry Jones serving as his own GM, he is a fool. And as long as he has the job, the ‘Boys will flounder. He just cannot pick talent, and won’t listen to those who can.

  8. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Apr 30, 2013 8:39 PM

    What they needed:
    1) a GM
    2) a QB who doesn’t choke when it really matters
    3) a lineman to replace Doug Free
    4) defenders who can play a Tampa 2
    5) a clue
    Where they missed:
    All 5.

  9. rickysheppardjr says: Apr 30, 2013 8:40 PM

    the last two first round centers I can remember would be the pouncey brothers and both were considered reaches at the time…pretty sure they turned out OK

  10. poison66 says: Apr 30, 2013 8:41 PM

    Joe Randle will start by week 2 , and be a great player for Dallas…….

  11. Norseman says: Apr 30, 2013 8:45 PM

    Cowboys are good at a lot of positions, but don’t have any play-makers. They’re approaching a complete team, but just don’t make plays when they need to, at least consistently.

    As a result, their ceiling is about a one-and-done playoff birth.

    This draft doesn’t do anything to change that. NFC is a good and getting better conference, and Jerry’s not keeping up with the Jones’.

    I think Tony Romo’s remaining years in Dallas will be spent wondering what could have been.

  12. romoscollarbone says: Apr 30, 2013 8:48 PM

    All things considered I would’ve went, Floyd and banked on Fred being there at 47. Otherwise this draft hit a lot of key marks. The TE pick is understandable if you’re telling me his sole purpose will. Be to attack the swam, because as great as Witten is, he no longer stretches the field. I read some crazy stat like 44% of his targets last year came within 3yrds. Also as great as he is, he doesn’t score a whole lot in the red zone.

  13. inyofaceagain says: Apr 30, 2013 8:49 PM

    Cowboys need to gut their front office

  14. jimbo75025 says: Apr 30, 2013 8:53 PM

    Well, viewed through the prism of how bad the Cowboys have drafted before, this year was not so bad. Solid if unsexy.

  15. indytom87 says: Apr 30, 2013 9:04 PM

    It seems to be that those teams that get bad draft grades are the ones that always make the playoffs and the ones that receive good grades are the ones that always miss.

    What’s the lesson? We want the bad teams to do better and the successful teams to fail. And in the end, the GMs know more than the armchair QBs and media.

  16. lrical says: Apr 30, 2013 9:04 PM

    Throw in tebow as a back up running back.

  17. bobhk says: Apr 30, 2013 9:26 PM

    rickysheppardjr says:
    Apr 30, 2013 8:40 PM
    the last two first round centers I can remember would be the pouncey brothers and both were considered reaches at the time…pretty sure they turned out OK
    ——–
    That may not be a valid inference. Just because, in hindsight, pouncey’s were not a reach, does not mean that Frederick won’t be either.

    He may well be pretty good. That is not the point. Given the tepid interest elsewhere, they could have had another good player AND this guy.

    Instead they got fleeced.

  18. gammynomnom says: Apr 30, 2013 9:26 PM

    Wow,a fair, thoughtful article about Dallas on PTF.

    I am just as shocked as I am thankful.
    Had they stayed at 18 they would probably lost out on Williams, which is a huge need considering how injured Miles and Dez have been. Fredrick, although a stretch at the time, will be a masterstroke if he starts and plays well. I think he will.

    Dline help is needed, but can be found in free agency I believe.

    Thank you for a fair article.

  19. bobhk says: Apr 30, 2013 9:29 PM

    @Norseman says:
    Apr 30, 2013 8:45 PM
    Cowboys are good at a lot of positions, but don’t have any play-makers. They’re approaching a complete team, but just don’t make plays when they need to, at least consistently.

    As a result, their ceiling is about a one-and-done playoff birth.

    This draft doesn’t do anything to change that. NFC is a good and getting better conference, and Jerry’s not keeping up with the Jones’.

    I think Tony Romo’s remaining years in Dallas will be spent wondering what could have been.

    —————–
    Agree. NFC is quite strong and it’s going to be hard for Dallas to crack it in the playoffs (if they make it).
    49ers, Seahawks, Falcons, GB are all good (and improving). Other teams are rising as well.

  20. daltex says: Apr 30, 2013 9:38 PM

    I have no problem with WHO the cowboys picked (with the exception of escobar – we needed a dlineman or safety with that pick) but rather WHEN they picked ‘em. They could have gotten all these same players and received more picks in the trade down. Couldve used the first pick on floyd and then still been able to pick up frederickson at the top of the second. Its the draft management that bothers me. I dont need a sexy pick.

  21. blackqbwhiterb says: Apr 30, 2013 9:39 PM

    I’m as big a Dallas hater as it gets, but Jerry really isn’t that bad at picking talent- they’ve had A LOT Of big time talented players throughout his tenure there. It’s his bombast and splashy style that makes everyone stay constantly on the lookout for the slightest mistake to jump on. The bigger issue clearly is his management of the coaching staff, and sticking his nose therein.

    Look at it this way, like someone else said here-if Ozzie Newsome made these picks, nobody’s got any criticism of them. Since it’s Jerrah, y’all got something to say.

    #cantwaittosweepdallasagain

  22. musicman495 says: Apr 30, 2013 9:41 PM

    rickysheppardjr says: Apr 30, 2013 8:40 PM

    the last two first round centers I can remember would be the pouncey brothers and both were considered reaches at the time…pretty sure they turned out OK
    ———————–
    This myth may make Cowgirl fans feel better, but your memory is faulty. Check the 2010 and 2011 draft previews. Both Pouncey twins were considered first round talents, and both could also play guard, which Frederick cannot do. NO ONE except the Faux GM Jerrah had Frederick as a first round player.

  23. mazblast says: Apr 30, 2013 9:45 PM

    “Overall, this could be a fairly useful draft class for Dallas.”

    Get real. It’s a Jerry Jones draft class. That says it all.

  24. hawkforlife says: Apr 30, 2013 9:50 PM

    Down the road, Williams could eventually replace Miles Austin or Dez Bryant in the Cowboys’ lineup. Austin is $5.5 million in 2014 and about $6.9 million in 2015, per Rotoworld figures. Also. Bryant will be a free agent after the 2014 campaign.

    You’re kidding right? I mean if there’s any position they don’t have to worry about it’s here and why worry about replacing these two when Romo will be done by that time.

  25. vmannj says: Apr 30, 2013 10:20 PM

    I would have liked to see them add a player (or 2) to the D-line as well, but I think many have forgotten what they’ve already done to try and add depth. You’ve got the 4 starters: Spencer, Ware, Ratliff, Hatcher. Then, as others have already stated, they have Lissemore, and Brian Price at DT. They also used a 3rd round pick on Tyrone Carter last here, and a 4th on Kyle Wilbur. Carter can backup Spencer on the strong side, and Wilbur is transitioning from OLB in the 3-4 to weak-side end in the 4-3, behind Ware. I understand if you want to add an upgrade or a big name, but maybe they still want to find out what they can get from last year’s draft picks first….?

  26. gammynomnom says: Apr 30, 2013 10:33 PM

    That may not be a valid inference. Just because, in hindsight, pouncey’s were not a reach, does not mean that Frederick won’t be either.

    He may well be pretty good. That is not the point. Given the tepid interest elsewhere, they could have had another good player AND this guy.

    Instead they got fleeced.
    _________________________________

    You realize they got Terrence Williams with the pick they got from San Fran, don’t you? So they did get Frederick and another good player.

    And Frederick said he considered himself a second rounder because a lot of teams told him they would target him there.

    And heres the deal, round projections won’t mean a thing if you get a starter at a position of need. You guys need to stop thinking Mike Mayock is some kind of Gospel.

  27. greatestgamensports says: Apr 30, 2013 10:51 PM

    @musicman495
    Know what your talking about before you rant bro! Fredrick DOES play center as well as guard and is very good at both, he IS a plug n player right now at either position!

  28. barbeaux says: Apr 30, 2013 10:52 PM

    Terrible draft.

  29. thebadguyswon says: Apr 30, 2013 11:04 PM

    It was nowhere near as bad as some claim.

    Gavin Escobar and Jason Witten will be a matchup nightmare this year.

  30. droyer85 says: Apr 30, 2013 11:16 PM

    They could have gotten Frederick in the 2nd or 3rd round.

  31. manofaiki says: May 1, 2013 2:51 AM

    Frederick would NOT have been there by pick 47 with the run on OLine that was occurring.

    Frederick will start. Randle will share carries with Murray, carry the load if Murray goes down. Williams will play outside with Dez and allow Austin to move to slot where he’s better. Escobar shows Garrett is gonna keep drafting TE’s until he gets the right guy to make those 2 TE sets work – an idea NE took from Dallas and & excelled at with Gronk & Hernandez.

    Dallas fans better HOPE Escobar works out because Garrett is gonna keep looking until he finds the right TE to make that work.

    This was not a ‘Jerry Jones’ draft. This was a Jason Garrett draft. Jones did not EVER pick OL in 1st round until Garrett became head coach. He’s done it twice now in 3 drafts.

  32. dallas88kj says: May 1, 2013 4:46 AM

    Don’t understand why everyone is so sure Frederick would have still been available with the 47th pick. It had been a record draft for O-Line in the first round, and regardless of where the so-called ‘experts’ thought he would be drafted he was still the top ranked center on most draft boards.

    When evaluating the pick, the Cowboys got Frederick and Williams by trading down. I’ll settle for that. Should they have got more for the 18th pick? Probably, but you can only take what another team is willing to give.

  33. twolippy4u says: May 1, 2013 6:57 AM

    I thought it was a good draft by them honestly. Huge need on the O line,,,got it.

  34. jamieaadams says: May 1, 2013 10:26 AM

    “They could have gotten Frederick in the 2nd or 3rd round.”

    My favorite part of the draft is afterwards, when suddenly everyone knows exactly when a player would’ve been picked despite the fact they had no idea before the draft.

  35. swj010 says: May 1, 2013 12:33 PM

    “They could have gotten Frederick in the 2nd or 3rd round.” Unlikely. There was an unprecedented run on OL in this draft with even Pugh and Long being taken higher than Frederick. The Cowboys indicated there were 9 OL capable of starting as rookies and 8 were taken when they chose Frederick at 31. In addition, Tennessee has been reported as planning on taking him with pick 34.

    All this ” he would have been available at 47″ is just wishful thinking. The Cowboys single biggest need was an anchor to their interior line. By all reports they got that. The complaints aren’t really about us not improving the team but about not winning the draft about which I couldn’t care less. We got a mean, smart, anchor to our interior line whether at guard or center. That’s what we needed and I am very happy we did not gamble on his being available at 47. Hope is not a plan. Getting that interior anchor was the plan and they drafted the best player for that purpose that IMHO was available even at 18 and they still got him at 31 along with Williams. Smart.

  36. thejimius says: May 6, 2013 11:27 PM

    Another interesting wrinkle is Jerry Jones said in a press conference that Dallas really wanted the 5th year option on Frederick that drafting him in the first round brings. If they would have drafted him in the 2nd, he gets a straight 4 year contract. Since they drafted him with the 31st pick, they get a fifth year option, which, if exercised, pays him the average salary of the 3rd to 25th highest paid players at his position (if I’m not mistaken). We all know how much centers make compared to the other positions, so if this is the case, it potentially gives them a cheap starter for one more year.

  37. boboyshallin88 says: May 7, 2013 2:34 AM

    It kills how fast peoole are quick to judge, yet out of the last few drafts look st the talent that Jerry has brought to this team… Shawn Lee, Bruce Carter, Dez, Morris Clayborne, Ratliff, n the only staple on the offensive line Smith, and a lot more if they step up this year..

  38. fuzzebear says: May 7, 2013 8:55 AM

    I was thrilled with the Frederick pick. Now Costa,
    who had a very good year 2 years ago and only played in 1 1/2 games last year becasue of injury, can play G.

    They needed to draft a T or G with the 2nd pick and I was floored (I was at the draft) when they took a TE. It got worse when they took a WR. The TE pick absolutely baffels me. The WR we got is good but we should have picked our RB there. I like Joseph Randle as he was a need but the TE pick was a waste and the WR position could have been addressed in later rounds.

    As for the DB’s from small schools, the Cowboys have a history or taking them but they NEVER work out.

    Overall, as a Cowboy fan I am very dissappointed they didn’t address the G or T position which was a major need. I just don’t see how they got better as a team after this draft.

  39. jsrdc says: May 8, 2013 4:29 PM

    Norseman says

    “Cowboys are good at a lot of positions, but don’t have any play-makers. They’re approaching a complete team, but just don’t make plays when they need to, at least consistently”.

    REALLY? They don’t have playmakers? That is funny because Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Tony Romo contributed to an offense that was 3rd in passing yards, and 6th in total yards. All 3 players are playmakers. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer aren’t playmakers? Who WASN’T a playmaker for the team was their Defense, as a unit, as they gave up too many points, didn’t have enough sacks or turnovers, and that hurt the team. Also, their O-line was pretty bad,and that hurt the offensive production, but to say they don’t have any plamakers is ridiculous.

    This year you will see a much improved team on all fronts. BTW, your Vikings (guessing you are a Viking fan w/ Norseman as your name) are in much more of a need of playmakers, especially only with Peterson as the legitimate one. You lost Harvin, and even though they signed Jennings, he will have to prove he is healthy and can play as effectively with Ponder as he did with Rodgers. For now, he isn’t a playmaker for the Vikings in my mind.

  40. blahblahblah1313 says: May 9, 2013 3:50 PM

    droyer85 says:
    Apr 30, 2013 11:16 PM
    They could have gotten Frederick in the 2nd or 3rd round.

    Just like ALL the experts said Manuel was a 2nd rounder and Nassib was a sure thing to Buffalo. NOBODY knows where players will be picked. Most especially you…

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