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First Look: Dallas Cowboys Travis Frederick Now The Center Of Attention

The Cowboys surprised many of their fans with a selection of a player many thought might be available later. We'll look at what they saw in him to make him the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys.


The Cowboys have secured some protection for Tony Romo for the 2013 season. With their first selection of the NFL Draft, the Cowboys have selected Travis Frederick, a center from Wisconsin who has also played the guard position. The Badgers have a history of churning out NFL quality linemen. Last year, they put Kevin Zeitler and Peter Konz in the first two rounds.

Dallas traded out of Pick 18 after they saw the majority of their targets snatched up before they got on the clock. In the introductory presser for Frederick, Jones admitted that improving the interior of their offensive line was a high priority for Dallas and they had two such players targeted when they dropped back to 31 in the trade with the San Francisco 49ers.

Recent rumors had linked Dallas to Justin Pugh as well, who went Pick 19 to the New York Giants so it could be a fair assumption he was the other player Jones was speaking of.

There are many upset at the perceived value in how Dallas handled the first round. According to the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, they lost points in moving back from 18 to 31 to pick up 74. According to Jerry and Stephen Jones, they broke even based on the version of a trade chart that they use at Valley Ranch. Piled onto that, the Cowboys selected a player that many experts saw as a late second, or early third round selection.

The perceived value was not in the Cowboys favor, and that has many people up in arms. However, if Travis Frederick turns out to be a player, the move to acquire an extra third rounder may turn out to be a wise move. Of course, the Cowboys draft will now always be measured by Sharrif Floyd's, the player the passed over, performance in Minnesota (sound familiar?). Jones said that Floyd wasn't a quick-twitch three technique, which is what they would have preferred there. They'll also be weighed by how Eric Reid performs in San Francisco, as he was a player that seemed to be a great fit for the Cowboys secondary.

So, how well equipped is Frederick to erase those concerns? Let's find out.

Travis Frederick is an extremely intelligent player. He's graduated early... twice. From high school as well as from University of Wisconsin, the latter with a degree in engineering. From what I've read and heard, he's not going to make mistakes on line calls and will get everyone on the line doing what they need to do.

Is there anyone amongst us that doesn't see that as what the Dallas offensive line needs? Anyone else tired of watching Tony Romo tell all of the linemen what their assignments are?

We know that the Cowboys have returned to building draft boards based on fits for their team, as opposed to overall talent level. So, while many of the draft pundits and "experts" saw Frederick as a player ranked in the 50's, Dallas may have had him much higher on their "little board". Regardless, Frederick is a player that has plenty of potential.

In the long and storied history of Badger offensive lineman, Frederick was the first true freshman to start on the line, playing both at center and guard for Wisconsin. He redshirted 2010, and then started 13 games as a "sophomore" in 2011.

Required Reading: SB Nation's Wisconsin Badgers site, Bucky's 5th Quarter, has a draft profile up for Frederick here. Some highlights:

If you're the team that drafts Frederick, you're going to get a player with the leg drive, the motor and the technique to move most every player off of him. He doesn't have the most spectacular power to his game, but he's not going to get blown off the ball, either. He can help a guard in pass protection, and for someone with questions about his athleticism? As a trapping guard or when he was needed to go to the second level, he's not prone to whiff in space.

As a pass blocker? He's pretty good, as well. There weren't many times on the pre-snap reads that a defender was unaccounted for, and while I already told you of his power questions, Frederick is always one to stand his ground. Otherwise, he will clamp down on blitzers and is able to maintain and help in other instances.

Andrew Rosin states that Frederick had the game to be a late first round pick, but his horrible combine (he ran the second slowest 40 time EVER for a center, 5.56) was what knocked him into the range for Day Two. The curious case is, we've all thought that Dallas was moving to a Zone-Blocking Scheme. Well, we'll have to see about that:

Me? If I want Frederick to be a safe pick on the second day? I'd hope that my team isn't running a zone. Because the fact of the matter is, while there's going to be some analyst that will praise him because he's a good football player because leadership and all that, Frederick's at his best when it's man on man, big on big, and let's see who wins.

OK, so there's a major question mark.

Regardless, Frederick is the top-rated center on several boards. National Football Post, CBS/NFLDraftScout, Draft Countdown, Drafttek... it's just that none of them saw him going this high. They did, however, see his talent level.

STRENGTHS - Strong and powerful, Frederick consistently shows ability to "get a good fit" on DT and is able to keep DT pinned on LOS in pass pro. Although his 40 time is terrible, he is quick out of stance to set-up and make contact with DL. He does a good job of bending knees and pass blocking with good base/leverage, which allows him to slide well side to side to maintain in pass pro. Once he gets ahold of DT he has the strength and technique to consistently maintain his pass blocks. He does a good job of getting off the ball quickly on in-line run blocks, makes contact with good leverage and can pin/seal DL to the side of the play to open the inside hole. For a player who ran such a bad 40, he is surprisingly effective making short pull and lead blocking LB in the hole. In addition, he is effective chipping DT and stepping through the LOS to seal block LB to the side of the play. He has experience starting at both guard and center, so versatility is definitely a plus. - Russ Lande

POSITIVES: Top-notch football IQ and overall intelligence to recognize what the defense is doing and adjust the offensive line accordingly. Has bulked up and added bulk to his frame, carrying his weight well for a 335-plus pounder. Mobile enough to get to the second level and block in space. Thick upper body with the base strength to anchor off the snap and hold his ground.

Works hard with his technique and doesn't make many mistakes. Fights with a finishing attitude and understands different scenarios, keeping his head on a swivel. Better foot quickness and agility for a blocker with his size.

Comes from a program known for producing NFL-quality offensive linemen and has starting experience at both guard and center. High character individual and very coachable. - Dane Brugler

Of course there are some negatives listed as well, his athleticism and hip stiffness being the chief concerns along with being able to handle "explosive, off the ball DT's"... which sounds like something Dallas was looking for, but I digress.

We'll wrap up by taking a look at some game film of Frederick, courtesy of This first film is actually a breakdown for Purdue DT Kawann Short against Wisconson, and the two are matched up against each other regularly.

Vs. Stanford

Vs. Michigan State

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