When it comes to the NFL, I like to think of time in a weird way sometimes.
For example, Travis Frederick was the Cowboys first-round draft pick (31st overall) five years ago. When Travis Frederick was drafted, the first-round pick five years before was actually two players, Mike Jenkins and Felix Jones (good times).
Does that not blow your mind? When Travis was drafted it felt like ages since those players had been, yet today hearing Frederick’s name called feels like yesterday.
However long ago you define Travis being drafted, five years is a pretty large sample size. Looking at the infamous first round of 2013 is rough for most teams, thankfully not the Cowboys.
Coincidentally, Travis has lined up next to someone that went 24 picks ahead of him that day in Jonathan Cooper. He’s also lined up across from someone in practice that went five spots ahead of him in Datone Jones. Check out DannyPhantom’s post about re-grading that draft.
What of the rest of that first round, though? Is there anyone in that round that is a better football player today than Travis Frederick?
It’s well-known exactly how rough this particular first round was (you can see it all here), and if you’re charged with picking players who are potentially better than Fredbeard it really comes down to two guys, Xavier Rhodes (25th) and DeAndre Hopkins (27th). There are other guys who are playing well, too, like Lane Johnson, Kyle Long, Ezekiel Ansah, Sheldon Richardson, Desmond Trufant and Eric Reid. But Rhodes, Hopkins and Frederick are the cream of the crop.
Rhodes is the best corner on a team that damn near hosted Super Bowl LII in the Minnesota Vikings. He’s ascended toward the top of his position’s rankings, but he’s hardly the best cornerback in the NFL.
DeAndre Hopkins has had a bit of a rough go as he’s dealt with almost as many bad quarterbacks as there were bad draft selections in this round throughout his career. Through it all he’s come along and developed into one of the top five (three?) receivers in the game.
This could be where Frederick has an edge on his competition in this category. Some would argue, but most wouldn’t, that Travis Frederick is the best center in the NFL. Does that not make him the best pick from this first round?
The goal in the first and second rounds of a draft is to acquire viable starters, hopefully legitimate ones, theoretically perennial ones. Travis Frederick has been to four Pro Bowls and been a First-Team All-Pro once. Rhodes and Hopkins were both named First-Team All-Pro for the first time this past season and have only been to two Pro Bowls each.
Xavier Rhodes and DeAndre Hopkins play flashier positions than Travis Frederick, but that doesn’t mean they were better draft picks. They may have been better for their team (that’s even an argument you can try to make but I won’t), but speaking objectively it’s hard to find someone that can take down Travis (just like on Sundays).
It seems that the ayes have it then. Travis Frederick was the best pick in the first round of 2013’s draft. And that’s because the Cowboys even landed him after trading back. Cheers to that.