We are about to find out if the 2013 draft is really as deep in the second and third rounds as everyone says. Heck, for the Dallas Cowboys, they have already started on the second round, since their first round pick, Wisconsin C/G Travis Frederick, was not a true first round value.
The team has left the fans with a range of emotions running from scratching their heads to ready to start the apocalypse. Despite whatever the team said in the post-draft press conference, things went wrong. Rabblerousr is planning on doing a detailed look at the error or two or fifty-seven the team made, so I will not try to steal his thunder. All I want to point out is that the team wound up in a fairly horrible situation with the eighteenth pick, sixteen players with first round grades, and all the ones they really needed also being rated highly by the teams ahead of them in the draft.
One question I will have for some time is "What happened to Sharrif Floyd?" I thought for a while that the Cowboys were going to make out like bandits with a player projected as a top five pick, but the falling DT just kept falling. If he works out for the Minnesota Vikings, then we will be kicking ourselves for a while. But Dallas was hardly the only team that was not willing to take him. I hope someone has a reason. Several reporters were trying to find out what was up, based on Twitter, but no one had any real answers to give.
This is also a bit of a cautionary tale to be careful what you wish for. A chorus of voices said that the Cowboys needed to draft O line in the first round. Well, they did. The problem is that the ones everyone really wanted, and the next three as well, were gone by the time the next to last pick of day one rolled around. Several attractive alternatives also were off the board. Now, I am not going to say the team wound up wimping out. OCC will be happy to take care of that.
However, at this point, nothing can be done about round one. I hope Frederick turns out to be an all pro at center or guard, whichever he winds up as. Now we have another two rounds with three picks, thanks to the trade back. Although I am one of, oh, just about everybody except Stephen Jones who thinks the team could have done better than the third round pick they got from the San Francisco 49ers, they do have a chance to make up some ground.
I hope they manage to do a couple of things very differently, however. First off, I am not really sure I believe the assertion that Frederick was rated in the low twenties on the Cowboys board. Maybe they are not spinning that, but this does look an awful lot like they swerved away from BPA and got locked in on need. While that would be evidence that the team did acknowledge that offensive line was indeed the biggest area of concern, that is cold comfort. But at least that need is out of the way. Now the team needs to really try to get the best players with these next three picks.
And please do not make any more trades. Get three players who will come in and contribute, but that you do not expect to be instant starters. Frederick is going to be judged on that criteria. While he is really a second-round level player, and should be looked at that way, the team spent a first rounder on him and the expectation is he should step in right now. But the next few picks are ones that can take a year or two to become starter-caliber, and still be seen as successful. The team just needs to avoid reaches from now on. I would expect to see a safety and defensive line, despite Jerry Jones' comments about the strength there. But these need to be good players who fall in the right range, not a grab down the list. If those positions are not there, take a wide receiver, a running back, a linebacker or an additional offensive lineman who is good value. BPA is always a bit subjective, but the team needs to get some players they feel very good about at 47, 74 and 80. And I mean good before they pick them, not manufactured good feelings afterwards.
I'm not terribly happy about the first round pick, but it does not mean the draft is a disaster. Frederick at least has an excellent pedigree and may make us proud to have him, although I am concerned about comments regarding his suitability for a zone blocking scheme, which Dallas seems to be adopting. But now the war room needs to get it really, really right. They rather shook my faith in them on day 1. I don't know if it can be completely restored, but they can at least control the damage with a better day 2.