As a rule of thumb, you'd probably expect your first-round pick to have the best rookie season out of your rookie class. After all, there's a reason you picked that guy in the first round.
But for the Cowboys, that may be a little different - and not because I think first-round pick Travis Frederick won't be any good, not at all. This year may be different for the Cowboys rookie class because we know how the Cowboys graded them. The Cowboys' top three picks were ranked 22nd (Frederick), 23rd (Williams) and 25th (Escobar) on the Cowboys' draft board. Mid-round picks Wilcox, Webb, and Randle all had third-round grades, Holloman had a fifth-round grade, and even UDFAs Brandon Magee and Jakar Hamilton carried fourth- and fifth-round grades respectively.
So which one of them will have the best season?
Travis Frederick will almost certainly start, but how do you accurately measure the impact of an offensive lineman, especially one brought in to stabilize the interior of the line?
Gavin Escobar may not rack up big yardage totals, as it looks like the Cowboys will look to Hanna from the 20 to the 20, but inside the red zone, Escobar could be a game-changer. Terrance Williams is already slotted as the number three wide receiver, and if either Austin or Bryant miss games due to injury, he could have a Laurent Robinson-type season.
The two defensive backs both looked good in OTAs and will see playing time, perhaps even a lot. As Monte Kiffin recently explained, the fourth corner is much closer to playing than the third guy at many other positions:
"Remember, your fourth corner – you’ve got three corners on your team when you play nickel – one corner gets hurt, [the fourth corner is] one snap from being a starter. So your corners are very, very valuable."
Both Webb and Wilcox will probably also see extensive playing time on special teams (as will Hamilton, Magee, and Holloman if they make the team), which could significantly increase their first-year impact.
And the Cowboys have Joseph Randle penciled in as a starter when DeMarco Murray misses time due to injury. When, not if. Per Todd Archer of ESPNDallas:
The Cowboys believe he can be a full-time back if something happened to DeMarco Murray, but he was a fifth-round pick. Randle will have to show he can beat out Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner to do the job. Getting a late start doing that isn't a positive.
Vote in the attached poll and let us know which rookies you think will have the most success this year.
Further Recommended Reading:
- Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Quality Depth On D-Line, Tony Romo A Championship QB?
- Continuity vs. Turnover On NFC East Rosters: How Much Is Too Much?
- Has Multiplicity Come To An End In Dallas?
- Cowboys Come To Terms With Third-Round Pick Terrance Williams
- Cowboys Offseason Headscratcher: Nate Livings or Ronald Leary?