It seems that the longer people spend thinking about the Travis Frederick pick, the more they're coming around to it. We've obviously seen this here on BTB, where many members started warming to the pick after the initial shock of trading down had passed - but that's par for the course. After all, we're a fan site of the Dallas Cowboys.
Yesterday, Dan Graziano of ESPN's NFC East blog took a closer look at the Cowboys draft and found that the Cowboys acquitted themselves rather coolly.
This was a lousy draft class, people. A bad year. Very little, if any, top-level talent, and if you're picking 18th that puts you in a tough spot. Considering that, and the fact that they needed to get an offensive lineman in the first round, I think the Cowboys acquitted themselves rather coolly. I certainly don't think the way they operated their first round indicates distraction or the lack of a plan. Quite the contrary, in fact.
Fans might be happier today had they gone offensive line again in the second or third round, or if they'd found a defensive tackle early. They could have stayed put at 18 and taken Sharrif Floyd, and perhaps that would have been hailed as a coup, since Floyd had been projected to go much earlier. But this is the part I never get. All we hear going into the draft is how useless all of these projections are, and then while the draft is going on everybody wants to use them to critique the picks. There was some good reason Floyd fell all the way to 23, and Dallas was hardly the only team to pass on him.
If Frederick never starts a game, or turns out to be a bust, then obviously it'll be easy to look back and say the Cowboys bungled this. But in a bad draft year, why not take the players you like instead of the ones the mock-drafters told you to like? I think the Cowboys got five players who could contribute right away, and Frederick could start on their line for the next eight years. I honestly don't see what's to rip.
Not everybody will agree with this assessment of course, but so be it. Ultimately, we won't be able to evaluate any team's draft class until we've seen how they perform in the league in a couple of years.
But if you disagree with Graziano's fairly level-headed assessment, tighten your seat belt, take a chill pill or breathe into a paperbag, because it's about to get even more interesting. Dan Kadar, SB Nation's draft guru, set out yesterday to find the "A+" pick for all 32 teams, the best picks made by each team in the 2013 NFL Draft. For the Cowboys, that pick is Travis Frederick, and here's Kadar's rationale:
Almost no one is disputing that the Cowboys took Frederick too early in the draft. But once games start, people will quickly forget where Frederick was picked. He's a perfect fit on Dallas' offensive line and will open a lot of holes in the run game.
This does come as a bit of a surprise, particularly after the Cowboys averaged roughly a "C" grade for their draft in Joey Ickes' Review of Cowboys Draft Grades here on BTB. But like Graziano, Kadar makes the point that the success of a draft pick is ultimately determined by his contribution on the field.
In addition to the A+ pick, Kadar also identifies the best late-round find and the most intriguing UDFA prospect for each team. Here are the players Kadar thinks stand out:
Late-round find: Joseph Randle, RB
If Demarco Murray continues to have injury problems, it will be less of an issue with Randle on the roster. Randle is a strong runner capable of gaining yards after contact. He compares favorably to Murray and could be a solid contributor early.
Undrafted intrigue: Brandon Magee, LB
Magee will have to make his mark on special teams. With his pure speed (he ran a 4.56 40 at his pro day), Magee could be good on kick and punt coverage and as a backup linebacker.
The 2013 Cowboys draft will remain hotly debated, and opinions will vary widely, ranging from cool-headed analysis to hot-headed rants on both sides of the argument. In the end though, if you had to make a choice, which draft pick would be your "A+" pick in this year's Cowboys draft class?