I know it's very early to grade a draft class after 5 games, they say you should give it 3-4 years, but the highly criticized 2013 draft class is shaping up to be a great one.
The top picks:
Jerry and the front office were completely berated by "experts" for trading down and taking Fredbeard. He was perceived to be a 3rd round pick, but the move has paid major dividends thus far. I was skeptical when Broadus at the mothership said that Travis Frederick would be a fixture on the offensive line for the next decade, but he might be onto something. Frederick is rated by PFF as the 6th best C in the entire NFL, and is highly intelligent player who excels at making calls at the line. He has helped transform the offensive line from the team's biggest weakness to one of it's strengths. Look for more explosive offense and empty sets like we saw in Denver since the offensive line is solid enough to hold its own without the assistance of tight ends and running backs.
The Cowboys 2nd round selection was Gavin Escobar, which was also a head-scratcher since it didn't seem to be an area of need so early in the draft. If you're sensitive you might want to earmuff it but: Jason Witten is on the back 9 of his career. He's starting show signs of age and his production has been steadily declining for a few years. Escobar still has a lot of improving to do in terms of his blocking and route running, but is a massive target at 6'7" and the coaches believe he has Gronk-like potential. Time will tell, he could end up being a colossal bust like David Lafluer, or he could end up finally being the missing piece of the puzzle to implement the 12 personnel they have been trying to install for years.
Terrence Williams was probably the pick I like the most from the entire draft. Typically it takes rookie receivers a while to contribute and get the hang of an NFL playbook, but hold for a few bone-head plays, Williams has been very impressive thus far. T-Will gives them another receiver that can take the top off a defense alongside Dez, as evidenced by his 82-yard score vs. Denver. Williams is on pace for 51 receptions, 902 yards, and 3 TD. Massive numbers for a rookie receiver. Realistically, he won't reach these numbers given that Miles Austin will unfortunately be returning soon, which will reduce Williams targets, but he's looked impressive nonetheless. Romo is gaining trust in Williams and will continue to improve over the course of the year, which will make parting ways with the highly overpaid and overrated Austin easier to do after this year (we can only hope.)
The Other Guys:
So we creep, creep on to latter picks of the draft (couldn't resist) The Cowboys second 3rd round selection was J.J. Wilcox who projected as a raw project player, coming from a small school and playing mostly offense in college. Quite the contrary: Wilcox ousted 10 year veteran Will Allen as the starter in week 3, and the front office had enough faith in Wilcox as the starter, that they released Will Allen in week 5. Wilcox alongside Church form one of the better young safety combos in the business. The next pick was B.W. Webb who impressed in training camp, but is having a difficult time cracking the rotation given the Cowboys' depth at CB. Joseph Randle is another guy the Cowboys are very high on, but also has yet to make a significant contribution. DeVonte Holloman may prove to be the true diamond in the rough in this class. Holloman really started turning heads in pre-season when he returned an interception all the way to the house and proved to have a nose for the football. Look for Holloman to see his snaps increase as the season progresses and possibly even challenge for a starting spot as soon as next year alongside Carter and Lee.
2013 Class By the Numbers:
2: number of starters from class(4 if you count Williams and Escobar who essentially are)
100: % of draft picks that made the 53 man roster
43: % of 2012 draft picks on active 53 man roster
17: combined yards/reception for Escobar and Williams
100: % of draft class healthy (can't be overstated after 2012 class...cough...Matt Johnson)
Again, its entirely too early but I think this is going to be a great draft class. Post your comments below, 'cause I aint to proud to beg.