J.P. Fox is back to The Football Educator. Here he presents his personal analysis of the Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft and which picks are most likely to project as difference makers in the coming season.
Draft observers all around the country had speculated that the Cowboys would go heavy rebuilding the offensive line and adding additional pieces to the defensive line. With Tony Romo constantly running for his life and a defense switching to a 4-3, the offensive and defensive lines seemed like a very popular choice for anybody that tried to predict what Dallas would do going into the draft. Also, with the Cowboys releasing veteran safety Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church coming off of an Achilles injury, safety was a position of need. When the draft ended and there were now seven new Cowboys, there were more than a few people who wouldn’t have been able to peg the players the team drafted.
Round 1 Pick 31:
Travis Frederick C/G Wisconsin
After trading down from 18, Dallas had two safeties on the board in Matt Elam from Florida and Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International. When the Cowboys picked Travis Frederick, it wasn’t a popular choice by many. Frederick, by some, was projected as a second or third day pick, never mind a first rounder. When looking at the pick, the Cowboys did address a need. They needed help along the offensive line. The only spot on the line that is set in stone is left tackle, Tyron Smith. Frederick is a versatile player who has experience playing guard and center for Wisconsin. The Cowboys have a hole at center after a revolving door at the position the last few years. It’s projected, as of now, that Frederick will open camp at right guard. The Cowboys got a starting player in Frederick.
Round 2 Pick 47:
Gavin Escobar TE San Diego State
In round two, Dallas went a route that again wasn’t seen by many. With future Hall of Famer Jason Witten manning the tight end position, the Cowboys’ selection of Gavin Escobar could be looked at with some confusion. But with Witten going into his eleventh season, the Cowboys do need to get younger at the position. This isn’t saying that Escobar is coming in to take Witten’s job. Witten had a career high 110 receptions this past season. But recently in the NFL, teams are going with two tight end sets more frequently. New England has the main example in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. With Escobar drawing comparisons to Jimmy Graham of the Saints, having an athletic tight end to run different formations will only help the Cowboys offense.
Round 3 Pick 74 (with pick acquired from SF) :
Terrance Williams WR Baylor
Here in round three, the Cowboys could have gone in many different directions. There were still quality defensive and offensive lineman on the board. Instead, Dallas selected Terrance Williams, the nation’s leading receiver this past season with 1,832 yards. Miles Austin has had problems staying healthy over the last few seasons. A string of hamstring and groin issues have held Austin out of the lineup. With Dez Bryant emerging as the teams’ number one wideout, Williams adds immediate insurance. He also adds another weapon for three-wide formations. If Austin continues to be banged up and Williams proves he can play, this could signal the end of Miles Austin in Dallas.
Round 3 Pick 80:
J.J. Wilcox S Georgia Southern
Wilcox has played three years on the offensive side of the ball as a running back and wide receiver. As a senior, he moved to safety where he registered 88 tackles and two interceptions. Wilcox plays with a tenacity and aggressive style that will be hard to keep off of the field. With uncertainty at the position, Wilcox may find himself on the field early and often.
Round 4 Pick 114:
B.W. Webb CB William & Mary
Webb does come a small school but his athletic ability is unquestioned. He has the perfect size and quickness to play a slot role on defense in nickel and dime situations. While he can contribute in certain packages on defense, Webb is a freak of nature on kick and punt returns. That will add to his chances of getting on the field.
Round 5 Pick 151:
Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State
With the oft-injured DeMarco Murray as the starting running back and Felix Jones moving on in free agency, the Cowboys needed another running back to split carries with Murray and provide insurance in case of another injury. Randle had a very successful career for Oklahoma State’s spread offense but did run a ton between-the-tackles and catches the ball very well out of the backfield.
Round 6 Pick 185:
Devonte Holloman LB South Carolina
With their final pick, the Cowboys picked up an SEC linebacker-safety hybrid in Holloman. Without ideal height for linebacker or ideal athleticism for safety, Holloman will probably find himself competing for a special teams spot while trying to earn a backup job role somewhere on defense.