Cowboys Draft Results: NFL.com Grades All Seven Cowboys Draft Picks As 2nd To 3rd Rounders

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If the NFL.com evaluation of the Cowboys' 2013 draft class is accurate, this draft class could see more first-year playing time than any Cowboys rookie class since 2005.

The NFL draft is finally behind us. And while I'm sure many of us are happy that the wait for the draft and the three days of the draft itself are finally over, it doesn't mean that were done with our draft coverage and analysis. Far from it. There's still a lot of stuff to analyze and disect, which is exactly what we'll do over the coming days and weeks here on BTB.

One of the things that fell by the wayside in our coverage, but was picked up in the comments section repeatedly, was the fact that all seven Cowboys draft picks were rated fairly high by NFL.com. In fact, NFL.com rated all seven Cowboys draft picks as 2nd to 3rd-round prospects. The NFL.com Draft Tracker assigns grades according to the following criteria:

Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.

As seven Cowboys starters received a grade of 70 points or higher, and indication that they are all expected to be eventual starters in the league and carry a 2nd or 3rd-round grade. Here's the rundown of all seven picks:

Round Player Position College NFL.com Grade
1 (31)
Travis Frederick
OG/OC Wisconsin 78.7
2 (47)
Gavin Escobar TE San Diego State 79.0
3 (74)
Terrance Williams WR Baylor 83.6
3 (80)
J.J. Wilcox S Georgia Southern 77.0
4 (114)
B.W. Webb CB William & Mary 74.0
5 (151)
Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State 80.6
6 (185)
DeVonte Holloman LB South Carolina 70.5

You can dissect these numbers in a lot more detail and compare them to other teams, something the appropriately named BTB-member Crunchberry has already done in the FanPost section, but I'm not going to do that here.

For me, the interesting point here is not so much the grades themselves. There are probably other services and draftsites that have assigned different grades to these prospects, and opinions will differ anyway on the validity of the numbers, regardless of where they're from.

The key here, and perhaps this is the defining characteristic of this draft class, is that the Cowboys have assembled seven football playing dudes here:

  • All seven guys are rated here as 2nd- or 3rd-round prospects.
  • All seven players are expected to become starters eventually. Stephen Jones shares NFL.com's assessment: "I don’t think any of the guys we got, when we look at them, that they all can’t potentially be a starter on our football team.” This is by no means a guarantee, of course, but they are all believed to have the potential to become starters. Translation: this is not a special teams draft.
  • Every single one of these players is likely to see a good number of snaps on offense or defense this year. All of these guys provide a skillset that is either in short supply or at risk of injury on the current roster. Purely in terms of number of snaps played in the first year, this draft class has the chance to surpass any draft class since the 2005 class.
  • The entire draft class did not miss a single game due to injury, suspension or anything else in 2012. In contrast to previous drafts, where the Cowboys took calculated risks on injured players, this may be one of the healthiest draft classes in recent memory.

All of this is of course contingent on the rookies meeting the expectations the Cowboys and the graders at NFL.com had in them, and that is perhaps best summarized by coach Garrett:

“We use the expression, ‘If we,’” Garrett said. “If we evaluated these guys the right way and saw them the right way, we feel good about their potential to compete as starters, compete for roles or be special teams guys.

“If they are who we think they are, you have a great chance of having a good draft.”

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