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Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys were in desperate need of help on the offensive line. And after taking a lineman with their first pick, many question the move they made by trading out of the 18th pick with San Francisco to drop down to 31 taking Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin. I, like the rest of Cowboy Nation felt numb, speechless, shocked, but no excitement like last year’s draft when Jerry Jones traded up to get a top cornerback Morris Claiborne.
After taking Frederick, Dallas fans hoped Jerry Jones would go in the direction of going more on the defensive or offensive line, a much more needed area, but that wasn’t the case.
Nope, he couldn’t do it folks. His thirst still remains for skilled position players. On the offensive side of the ball after shockingly taking Frederick, Jerry drafted Gavin Escobar, tight end, San Diego State in the 2nd round, Terrance Williams, wide receiver, Baylor in the 3rd and Joseph Randle, running back, Oklahoma State in the 5th round. On the defensive side of the ball, Jones went with a safety J.J Wilcox, Georgia Southern in the 3rd round, a cornerback B.W. Webb, William & Mary in the 4th and an outside linebacker DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina in the 6th round with the Cowboys final pick of the draft. So now that we all know who Jerry and gang have brought along, what players listed above give you the feel of making an immediate impact? Who listed above makes you think that the Dallas Cowboys have become a better team?
We don’t know much about Travis Frederick other than playing at a school that is known for having top lineman. Oh, he’s also known for breaking arms during practice, but welcome to the pros Travis, you won’t be tossing these guys around like a bully you were to your own teammates in college. Then we got Gavin Escobar, known to have good hands, a big target that head coach Jason Garrett said can create matchup problems while being interviewed by Rich Eisen on NFL Network in their post draft outlook. We do live in a copy-cat league. I get the whole deal with teams taking a good look at what the New England Patriots have been doing with what looks like using a million tight ends, but didn’t the Cowboys draft James Hanna last year? Dallas doesn’t have issues at the tight end position. You have Jason Witten, a future hall of famer that set a record for most catches in a single season by a tight end in 2012. Not an area of need.
Here’s what really stunned me in a good way. I know the passing game wasn’t the issue last season, but I like Terrance Williams. Miles Austin, the Cowboys #2 receiver has been plagued by injuries and Williams has potential to step in and make an immediate impact if he gets the opportunity. Dwayne Harris turned heads late last season and for the moment, Williams looks like he’ll be fighting with Harris for the third receiver spot on the team. The secondary picks with J.J. Wilcox and B.W. Webb don’t have me jumping out of my seat. Wilcox is a converted player with a good deal of athleticism, but a player that will need to develop into a true pro safety. Webb is the better pick that could help the Cowboys secondary in nickel or dime packages on passing downs. Webb has good instinct and ability to cover slot receivers while Morris Claiborne and David Carr, the starting cornerback’s man up on the outside. Not bad picks, good for insurance and depth for the secondary. Safety was an area to look at, but I don’t think Dallas found the next Darren Woodson in this draft.
The Cowboys defense was decimated with injuries last season, particularly at linebacker. Taking DeVonte Holloman, an outside linebacker who was a converted safety has a good nose for the ball and could help the run defense as well as covering the slot and tight ends. If he gets a shot to start, he most likely will play the Sam spot. The Cowboys already have a few players fighting to play next to inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. The Cowboys signed Justin Durant this offseason, and already have Alex Albright, Ernie Sims and Caleb McSurdy. Holloman will have to show good things and bust a move come training camp. I think he does. Better pick than you think, sleeper?
Taking running back Joseph Randle was the perfect replacement for Felix Jones. Starting running back DeMarco Murray’s injuries are a concern for the Cowboys backfield, and even though Randle is looked upon as a spell-back that can help in the screen game, don’t be surprised pending on Murray’s health that Randle becomes the starting running back in due time. Mainly, I like Randle’s elusiveness, his ability to catch out of the backfield and the toughness he brings to the table fighting for every yard. This was my favorite pick out of all them.
And after giving my inside take on all of Jerry’s picks, the issue with this team comes back to square one, offensive line. The Cowboys are still searching for a replacement for Doug Free at right tackle. Travis Frederick did play some guard in college and might shift over to it, but the interior part of the line doesn’t give me any indication that it improved by taking Frederick. Recently, I’ve asked many fans this question. Name me a team that’s won a super bowl with a subpar offensive line? Finding a way to trade up to take Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper would’ve made a big splash and immediate impact on the interior line. Jerry Jones could’ve stayed with the 18th pick and took defensive tackles Shariff Floyd or Sylvester Williams and then taken Kentucky guard Larry Warford in the 2nd round. That would’ve had more impact on both the interior defensive and offensive line.
But, if I’m trying to find anything positive for this teams outlook and direction it’s heading into, I would say that with the offensive skilled weapons drafted, this team is looking to up the tempo by giving quarterback Tony Romo as many weapons as possible. I don’t see a physical football team here, but I do see lots of skilled players that have the ability to make plays. So use them that way. Be opportunistic on both sides of the ball like the 09 Saints. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that’s what this team will be like by penciling it in, but there’s a tad bit of writing on the wall for something that could potentially work. All in all, I can’t sit here and tell you the Dallas Cowboys got better.
Speak your mind Cowboy Nation, tell me what you think. Did Dallas get better? I want to hear you!