On The Tape: Travis Frederick

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Cowboys selected a player they had rated as the 22nd best player on the board and the top rated Center. What did they get? I took a quick look at a few college games to find out.

Early this morning I watched 3 games that Travis Frederick played in at Wisconsin, and I want to quickly share some of my thoughts from that study.

Games Watched:

2012 vs Michigan St.

2012 vs Ohio St

2011 vs Ohio St

Measurables:

Ht: 6'4"

Wt: 312 lbs

Arms: 33"

Hands 10"

Strengths:

Very stout in the middle of the pocket in pass protection: in all 3 games I never saw a rusher able to come down the middle of his body and drive him back into the QB's lap. You see him sit down in his stance and anchor vs the bull rush allowing him to stay strong.

Finishes blocks well: Once he gets in position on his guy, you can almost certainly count that guy out of the play. Saw many times where he turned his guy sideways very quickly and moved him out of the way for the RB to scoot through the hole. He gets his hands inside well and looks like he plays with a lot of upper body strength while fighting to sustain the block. Plays stronger to me than a guy who did only 21 reps. Saw several times when he had no one rushing at him in Pass Pro, and he would slide over and deliver a blow to the guy rushing one of his guards, and it put the D-Linemen flat on his back.

Recognizes Pressures/Stunts: Does a good job of handing off the guy on the stunt and picking up the guy looping inside. Saw him diagnose inside pressure from the second level, get in position and stone a line backer coming on a blitz.

Gets off the ball: When I want to know who an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator trust to get good push off the snap, I look at who they are running behind in short yardage and goal line situations. Almost every time I saw Wisconsin in short yardage at the goal line, They were running the ball behind Frederick, whether it was at Left Guard in 2011 or at Center in 2012.

Weaknesses:

Athleticism: Frederick is at best an average athlete in the middle of the line. When run blocking, especially when going up to the 2nd level to block LBs he has a tendency to get off balance and miss the block. Occasionally Wisconsin would pull him around the outside in front of the RB on a toss or stretch pin & pull type play, and I only saw him execute this assignment well one time out of probably 8-10 opportunities. Was better pulling to the short side as opposed to pulling all the way across the formation.

Balance: This goes somewhat hand in hand with the athleticism, but I see Frederick on the ground much more than I like for my offensive linemen. Although the man he is blocking ends up on the floor much more often than Frederick does, you still want your guys playing on their feet as much as possible. He doesn't struggle with this as much in pass pro as he does when he is on the move blocking for a run.

Quickness: The main thing I saw him struggle with both in pass pro and run blocking, was when he had to deal with linebackers or smaller linemen who had a lot more quickness than he has. As I said before if he can get in position on his guy he's going to win the match up almost every time but if he can't get his hands on you he's going to struggle mirroring quickness with his feet.

Summary:

Overall I am pleased with the player. He is a tenacious strong guy from a school with great OL and running game tradition who plays to the whistle and puts defenders on their back regularly. If someone had given us that description pre-draft of our first round pick we would have all been pleased especially when they told us we were able to pick up an additional 3rd round pick as well. I don't think the other things (the trade value, or the medias interpretation) should cloud our thoughts on him. The Cowboys offensive line got better last night. He will be in their 3 best interior linemen and he will start for this team. With the Eagles and Redskins both running 3-4 defenses, I think he plays Center because of his ability to handle a nose lined up over him, but I'd be OK him starting at either Center or Left Guard for this team in 2013.

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