Been hearing a lot of chatter around here about the Cowboy's second round pick. Gavin Escobar was the next TE the cowboys draft in the second round in the past few years to backup/complement Jason Witten. Some people did not like the pick, while others did. Some decided to trust the front office even if they had reservations about the pick itself.
Personally, I hated the pick at first. At the time I felt like we reached for Frederick in the first and was not happy about it (a feeling which I do not have now and I actually like the pick and am excited for what Fredbeard can do to stabilize this Oline). So, as the second round came around I was hoping the Cowboys would make up for their "mistake" in the first round by making a great pick in the second round. To be honest, I was hoping for Larry Warford with the second pick. Then the Cowboys go ahead and draft a Tight End. I wasn't happy. At the time I was thinking " Wow we just screwed up our first 2 picks".
After the draft was over, my initial judgement on the Frederick pick changed. We needed Oline help and Fred was the last O-lineman we had rated in the top 2 rounds. Plus, after the job Fred has done in camp and the preseason, I can see that the cowboys made the right decision in the first round.
But what about Escobar ? I still have mixed feelings about the pick.
On one hand, this pick was not all great or else it would have received the criticism it did from several people. First, people need to stop comparing this pick to the Lee and Carter picks. Yes, everyone was saying we made "luxury picks" when we took Lee and then Carter in the second round and then they turned out great. However, those 2 players were first round prospects who slid to the second round because of injury. The Cowboys got great value with both those picks. Escobar was rated as a second round prospect and was picked in the second round. Not exactly a value pick.
Second, this is not the first time the cowboys have tried to find a complement to Witten in the second round. Fans who have seen this whole process before are saying "here we go again". This team has tried to find a second TE that can make the 2 TE package work and not had great results. Plus, we already had James Hanna who has looked good. Why spend a second round pick on a TE again ? Especially when at best this TE will be the fifth option in the passing game ( Behind Dez, Witten, Austin, and Murray).
Also, Escobar hasn't done much to quiet his doubters. Everyone knew his blocking was bad, and even though it looks like the Cowboys are trying to make him improve in this area, it doesn't look like he has. Maybe that's why the Cowboys are having him block so much. They want to give him as many reps as possible blocking in the preseason so he can improve in that area. Practice makes perfect. He flashed some potential catching the ball last game, but against 3rd stringers. James Hanna is ahead of him on the depth chart. Even when Hanna was out injured during TC, Escobar couldn't overtake last year's 6th round pick and slid behind him once he returned from injury.
On the other hand, this pick makes more sense when you look more into it. Looking at the players drafted after Escobar up till our next pick ( Terrance Williams), there were not a lot of options that may have attracted the Cowboys. The only players that the Cowboys had given second round grade and were available at pick 47 were : QB's Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley, RB Eddie Lacy, WR Terrance Williams, TE Gavin Escobar and DE Margus Hunt. Picking either of the QB's would have caused an uproar. Hunt is a 25 year old rookie project and is not really a scheme fit. We managed to get Terrance Williams in the third round. This leaves Lacy and Escobar. While its debatable which player is better at their respective positions (Escobar was rated higher), the Cowboys had 9 other RB's rated between the 3rd and 7th round, while they had only 4 TE's rated in that same range, 3 of whom were 3rd round prospects. Maybe the Cowboys felt they could pick a RB they value later but might not be able to do the same with a TE. (I also think this is why they picked Escobar over Williams even though Williams was rated higher on their board as they also had 9 WR's rated from Rd 3-7).
While a team tries to assemble the best draft board, still they are not perfect. Who else could have the Cowboys picked at 47? Any other players that the Cowboys weren't that high on but other teams felt were worthy of a second round pick? LB's Jon Bostic and Arthur Brown look good fighting for starting spots in Chicago and Baltimore, but the Cowboys had 3rd round grades on both. Also, we got a steal in the 6th with Devonte Holloman and the LB position is probably the least of our worries. Safety D J Swearinger also is competing for a starting spot but we had him rated in the third round as well, below JJ Wilcox. I still don't know why Larry Warford was not on our board, but that is a different topic.
Another point that made me feel a little better about the Escobar pick is that the Cowboys consulted Romo before the pick and Romo liked what he saw from Escobar (and Williams too).
All in all, the Cowboys decided to roll with Gavin Escobar in the second round whether we like it or not. Personally, this was my least favorite draft choice from our draft. However, I am not naive enough to judge a player based on a few preseason games. If Escobar can improve his blocking and continue to make strides in the passing game, everyone will forget about calling him a wasted or luxury pick. And boy do I hope that happens.