Despite a good showing in Sunday's pre-season game many fans are still unsettled about this years Offensive Line. Those feelings were stoked by the surprise fake signing of former Jet's OL Brandon Moore. Indeed some fans are so upset they are re-litigating the 2013 NFL draft; specifically bringing charges that Dallas should have done more for the offensive line.
It's time to put the brakes on that subject. Because of the intrepid reporting of our own FPW Rabble, we know what the Cowboys draft board looked like. And if we take a look back at the 2013 draft it is safe to say that Dallas could not have done much more for their offensive line if they wanted to stay true to the board.
RD 6 Grades: None
RD 7 Grades: David Quessenberry
Let's break the action down by rounds, looking at the players on the Cowboys board.
RD 1: (1) Eric Fisher...(2) Luke Johekel...(4) Lane Johnson...(7) Jonathan Cooper...(10) Chance Warmack
(11) D.J. Fluker...(19) Justin Pugh...(20) Kyle Long...(31) Travis Frederick
Dallas had a first rd pick on 5 OL in the first round. By the time Dallas' pick was up all 5 of those players were off the board. We all know what happened next with Dallas trading down with SF and picking up a 3rd rounder in the process. By the time the 31st pick rolled around 8 offensive linemen had been selected including all the players Dallas had assigned a 1st and 2nd round grade to, except for one. Travis Frederick. Thus began the legend of the Fredbeard. I think the Cowboys did about as good as they could here if the goal was strengthening the OL...all the first round graded players were gone so they traded down closer to the 2nd round, picked up their top rated Center and snagged an extra pick in the process.
RD 2: (42) Menelik Watson...(47) Gavin Escobar
All the lineman Dallas had assigned a 2nd round pick to had been taken in the first round. Indeed by the time Dallas 2nd round pick came up, there were no OL left who Dallas had assigned a 3rd round grade to, Menelik Watson having been drafted 5 picks earlier. The big argument many have is that Dallas should have drafted Kentucky lineman Larry Warford. But if we are going by the board that's simply not an argument; not only is Warford not worth a 2nd round pick he's not even on the board! It seems like most NFL front offices agreed about the value, Warford would not get drafted for another 18 picks at 65. Looking back the opportunity cost here is not Warford, but rather the only other lineman selected between Dallas pick at 47 and it's next pick at 74...Brian Winters.
Strangely I have yet to hear anyone make the argument that Brian Winters should have been our selection instead of Gavin Escobar. Instead we hear endlessly about a pick that would not have happened regardless of if our 2nd round pick had been Escobar, Matt Barkley, or the Ghost of Justin Beriault. Gavin Escobar did not cost us Larry Warford. Larry Warford was never going to be picked as he was never on the board. The only potential OL Gavin Escobar cost us was Brian Winters.
RD 3: (65) Larry Warford (not on our board)...(72) Brian Winters...(74) Terrance Williams...(75) Terron Armstead (not on board)...(77) Dallas Thomas...(80) J.J. Wilcox...(86) Hugh Thornton (not on board)...(89) Brennan Williams
I've already discussed Larry Warford and Brian Winters. The other lineman taken this round were either off the board entirely, 4th round grade Dallas Thomas, (great name but was last seen running for his life from George Selvie), and 5th round grade Brennan Williams. Either one would be a stretch if you want to stick with your draft board, but if you really wanted a lineman we could have swapped Dallas Thomas for J.J. Wilcox. Of course safety depth was just as big a need as OL.
The rest of the draft plays out the same way. The only times we could have gotten "value" by picking an OL would have been picking David Bakhtari over B.W. Webb in the 4th round or Ricky Wagner over Joseph Randle in the 5th. Of course, that would just add to the already large number of youglies that we already have on the team. Just as it's no guarantee that Larry Warford would have come in and played any better than either David Arkin or Mackenzie Bernadeau.
So my question...how could Dallas have bettered it's O-line in this draft, besides doing exactly what they did?