Because of my particular interest in scheme and the X's and O's of football, when the Cowboys draft a player, I immediately begin to wonder where that player fits and how that pick will impact what the Cowboys try to do from a game planning perspective on Sundays.
My thoughts from Thursday & Friday are interesting. We've talked before and our own BirdDog26 has spoken about the Cowboys intentions to use Romo in a lot of different ways that should maximize his abilities. Now I believe we are beginning to see what their intentions are.
I'll have more thorough scouting reports on the draftees coming post draft but for now, a few quick takes:
1) Slow down on the Zone Blocking Scheme predictions: I've been touting all offseason that all signs pointed to the Cowboys moving to a more athletic offensive line in order to fit the zone blocking scheme used by teams like Houston, Kansas City, and Washington. However the selection of Travis Frederick at 31 changes my perspective. Although Wisconsin did include some ZBS concepts, and I'm sure the Cowboys will in 2013 and on as well. Frederick is much better going forward than going sideways. He's not the athlete needed at C or OG to execute the reach blocks on the play side. So look for the gap/power scheme primarily, and look for a guy like Tyson Clabo at RT over Eric Winston if they go the Free Agent route.
2) This team will be much better in the red zone: The Cowboys have struggled in recent years at converting red zone opportunities into 7 points. How many games do you remember where the Cowboys settled for FG's on early chances and ended up losing by 4 or fewer points? The first 3 draft selections are all very good red zone players. Frederick was the guy that the Wisconsin coaching staff chose to run behind. Escobar had 6 TDs on 42 total receptions in 2012 at San Diego St, and Terrance Williams had 11 scores on 59 catches in 2012. These are guys who both go up and get the ball well, and make the contested catch in the end zone. Looks to me like the plan was to target specific guys who would help them in the red zone and convert opportunities to touch downs.
3) The Tight End usage will be fun: Jason Witten, James Hanna, and Gavin Escobar, give Tony Romo, Jason Garrett, and Bill Callaghan a ton of options. These 3 guys can line up all over the field, and create mismatches. These guys are 6'6" 6'4" and 6'6" respectively and weigh around 250-260lbs. But each is a legitimate receiving threat. Too big to be guarded by most defensive backs, but to athletic to be covered by linebackers. Escobar is a monster on the seam route up the field as well as the underneath stuff. Hanna's athleticism is on par with a lot of WRs and we all know what Jason Witten brings to the table.
4) These are some versatile RBs: Between DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle the Cowboys have a 1-2 punch at RB that can be threats in the run game and the pass game.
These are the preliminary takes of course, and the more I get into the film study of Romo's new toys, the more ideas I will have. We'll go to the chalkboard with some of these later but this offense should definitely be interesting to watch, and study as the season goes on.