The following article frames some of my gut feelings on this draft pretty well.
Rafael Vela - 2014 Starts Today http://www.cowboysnation.com/2013/04/cowboys-draft-review-2014-starts-today.html
I think that, perhaps for the first time in the Jones era, Dallas has shown extreme patience and savvy, exhibiting an eye to the future rather than just the next season. In a draft that was loaded with OL talent, Dallas stayed on the periphery and selected the best available players at other positions rather than enter the fray and take the best available linemen. The significantly reduced demand for skill position players meant they kept falling and, subsequently, kept increasing that pool of players' draft value, while the feasting on the OL'men dilluted that pool's value.
I'm under no illusion that this draft can make an immediate and significant impact in 2012, though I do believe nearly all of the players selected will see significant game action. They are still rookies and the outcome of this upcoming season will still, largely be decided by the veterans.
No, more importantly, Dallas may just have found the core nucleus of the next generation in a single draft. If we can add an early round OL'man and a couple early round DL'men over the next two years, we will be sitting pretty as long as Lee and Carter pan out in the injury department. Take a moment to ponder how significant that is. Usually, developing a new core through the draft requires 3 to 5 years of excellent drafting with the added luck that the positions you need fall to you.
Here's what I think of each pick and how they fit for us...
Exhibit A) Travis Frederick is an instant impact at Guard with a ripple effect that effects the entire offense when he moves to his natural position of Center in 2014.
Exhibit B) Gavin Escobar immediately makes this one of the most dynamic passing offenses in the league with his skillset. I read that some analysts said he had the best hands in the draft, bar none, including WR's. His blocking problems appear to be related to poor technique and lack of experience. He's a complete mismatch for Linebackers and demands at least a Safety cover him. Finally, consider the fact the defense will have to cover Miles, Bryant, Witten, Escobar, and Murray (who has great hands and runs clean routes like a WR) at the same time. That's a running formation that has to be respected but with guys who all outclass most LB'ers in coverage. By 2014 Escobar's blocking should be much improved as he prepares to takeover for The Senator.
Exhibit C) Terrance Williams is a pure outside threat in year one but an immediate redzone threat and a weapon that can stretch the defense. In 2014 he should start to visibly master the entire route tree. In year 3 he could bang like Bryant. He provides a solid backup for Miles, gives us a good outside threat in 3 WR sets so Miles can move inside, and will replace Miles when his career is done.
Exhibit D) JJ Wilcox gives us insurance and depth at the Safety position. Athletically speaking he's probably our #1 but he's as raw as they get. I expect mostly special teams play in 2013 but by 2014 he should be pushing either Johnson or Church for serious playing time. He can bang heads, cover ground, and intercept passes. Even as inexperienced as he is, if Church or Johnson can't recover from their injuries or don't pan out, Wilcox's athleticism should allow him to perform adequately in a defense known for its simplicity.
Exhibit E) BW Webb is a small school prospect that will work his way into playing time throughout 2013 and contribute on ST's right away. By 2014 however, he should be firmly planted in this defense. His athleticism is top shelf and his instincts and zone coverage ability are perfect for this scheme. He has terrific hands and can burst forward to jump the route and get the pick. Paired with Claiborne and Carter, he should get plenty of opportunities to make game changing plays.
Exhibit F) Joseph Randle is about as close to DeMarco Murray as you can get without actually being DeMarco Murray. He appears to come NFL ready as his pass protection skills are already on point. He's strong, can break tackles, and has the burst to chew up yardage quickly when he sees daylight. He lacks a top gear when he does break free but can be consistent all game long. he also possesses outstanding hands and plucks the ball out of the air like a WR rather than using his body. I expect him to have an immediate impact while also benefitting from an NFL S&C program.
Exhibit G) One of my favorite picks of the entire draft was our last one. Devontre Holloman was tailor made to play OLB in the Dallas Deuce. He began as a WR in HS, moved to CB in college, switched to safety as he grew, moved to Rover (a Safety/LB hybrid), and eventually wound up at OLB for the Gamecocks last season. He's an animal who hits with vigor, has good hands, possesses good pass defense skills and instincts, exhibits above average change of direction skills and acceleration, has strength in his long arms to wrap, secure, and make the tackle, has strong hands to rip off blockers, and forces fumbles and interceptions. He plays angry, fires the team up emotionally, has a non stop motor according to scouting reports, plays whistle to whistle, and plays with a violent and singular intent. He'll compete right away at SAM for us and really be coming into his game by 2014.
A lot of these guys aren't flashy, household names. But they are the kind of talented group that can form the nucleus for the next generation of Cowboys...and we got them in a single year of drafting smart and patiently. I think our long walk through the desert might finally be coming to a close.