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Cowboys Fail In The First Round Of The Draft

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The Dallas Cowboys reached for Travis Frederick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.
The Dallas Cowboys reached for Travis Frederick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

With the dust officially cleared on the 2013 NFL Draft, it is time to take a look at the seven players drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. At first glance, analyzing this crop isn’t an easy task. While the players the Cowboys selected are actually a pretty solid group as a whole, where they were drafted makes it very hard to give a final grade.

After the first two days of the draft, Dallas looked to be heading for a grade of “F”. But solid picks on Saturday brought the overall final grade up to a “C” for this draft class. The good news is, despite early appearances, the Cowboys haven’t repeated the disastrous draft of 2009. The bad news is they left some talented players on the board for other teams to pick up, and failed to address two areas of need – defensive tackle and the heir apparent to Tony Romo at quarterback.

How Dallas could have done better will be addressed later. For now, a look at the players the Cowboys drafted.

Round 1, No. 31: C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

The upside: Frederick can play both center and guard, and at 6-foot-4, 312 pounds, he is a big man in the middle that can keep the middle of the pocket from collapsing while moving aside defensive tackles to open running room for the backs. 

The downside: The next center taken came in the fourth round, and it is unlikely that Frederick would have been gone in the third round. Dallas could have taken a better player at safety, even after the trade with San Francisco, and Frederick would’ve still been available. No matter how Jerry Jones spins it, this was a major overreach even if Frederick becomes a 10-time Pro Bowler.

GRADE: F

Round 2, No. 47: TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

The upside: He could be the eventual starter once Jason Witten retires. He could be a very good option in the two-tight end sets Dallas wants to employ as he is a very good pass catcher.

The downside: Like Frederick, he is slow and he probably would have been available in the third round as well. For the second day in a row, Dallas reached when better players at areas of real need were still on the board.

GRADE: C

Round 3, No. 74: WR Terrance Williams, Baylor

The upside: Dallas needed a third receiver who can also step in and replace Mile Austin if the injury bug continues to plague Austin. Williams could stretch the field, and definitely gives Romo another weapon to throw to.

The downside: Williams’ speed is in question but, if that can be improved, this might turn out to be the best player the Cowboys drafted this year.

GRADE: A

Round 3, No. 80: FS J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern

The upside: Since Dallas passed on the chance to draft established college starters, taking Wilcox was probably the best possible solution. Wilcox will make an immediate impact on special teams, and could develop into a solid starter.

The downside: Wilcox has played a total of one season at safety in his life. The good news is his coach is a defensive genius, and if anyone can develop a raw talent into an NFL safety, it is Monte Kiffin. Still, if Wilcox does not pan out, Cowboys fans will loudly lament missing out on Eric Reid and Matt Elam in the first round.

GRADE: B

Round 4, No. 114: CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary

The upside: Dallas needed to find players in the secondary that can cover and tackle; Webb could prove to be an excellent nickel back and possibly a return man.

The downside: Webb didn’t face the talent level at William & Mary that he will see in the NFL. How he adjusts will determine his fate in the league.

GRADE: B

Round 5, No. 151: RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State

The upside: The Cowboys needed another running back, and they may have found a late gem in Randle. His early value will come as a third-down back that can pass block as well as slip out to catch a pass in the flat.

The downside: Randle doesn’t have a “next gear” when he gets into the open field.

GRADE: B+

Round 6, No. 185: OLB DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina

The upside: A converted safety, Holloman should be able to cover opposing tight ends, which was a clear problem for Dallas last year.

The downside: Holloman does have a DUI on his record, and given Dallas’ recent history with players with DUI issues, it was a bit of a surprise to see them go with Holloman.

GRADE B+