The 2013 NFL Draft is finally in the rear view mirror and there are plenty of things to discus regarding this class.
We have already touched on some of the Cowboys' concerns in the blog post, "#baseballtown," but now I want to focus on the players and their individual value based on numerous scouting reports and my personal feelings after watching game film.
Pick #31: Travis Frederick, Center, Wisconsin, 6 ft. 4 in. 312 lbs.
My Grade: Second round
The Cowboys were dead set on picking an offensive lineman in the first round.
After names like Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, D.J. Fluker, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson and Luke Joeckel went of the board, it was clear that offensive lineman were going early and often.
I think the Cowboys would have taken Kenny Vaccaro, the safety from Texas, with the 18th pick, but when New Orleans scooped him up, the opportunity to trade back and grab another pick felt like the right thing to do for the Cowboys.
But back to Frederick, this is a kid that should start for this team immediately.
His athleticism is lacking, but size, strength and smarts are all there.
He sometimes loses himself in the second level.
On film you can see him often getting past the defensive line and looking for someone to block while his running back is being tackled.
His quickness off the ball is occasionally a split second slow, but with all that said, he was the best center in a draft that had a premium on offensive lineman.
He reminds me of a Leonard Davis-type player.
If he gets his paws on you, you are done.
From everything I've seen, he is a better player than Alabama's Barrett Jones who was considered by some to be the best center in this draft.
I saw Jones get beat by speed and strength when watching him against Texas A&M.
Frederick will not get beat by strength.
Did the Cowboys reach for Frederick?
But they did get a player who can immediately start on the interior of an offensive line that proved to be this team's biggest problem a season ago.
Pick #47: Gavin Escobar, Tight End, San Diego State, 6 ft. 6 in. 254 lbs.
My Grade: second or third round
I don't like the pick, but I do like the player.
Escobar is the prototypical Cowboys tight end.
What he lacks in blazing speed, he makes up for with perfect hands and ball skills.
In his rookie year, he will likely be used much like John Phillips was.
He will be used in two- and three-tight end sets in short yardage and red zone situations.
His speed and ability to make catches in traffic remind me of Jason Witten, but he is not near the blocker that Witten is.
I have several reasons for questioning this pick.
The first reason is that the best running back in the draft was still available.
Eddie Lacy seemed like a guy that the Cowboys would love to have considering Demarco Murray's history of getting hurt and missing games.
Another reason the selection of Escobar is questionable in my mind is the fact that the Cowboys drafted a tight end in 2012.
James Hanna from Oklahoma emerged late in his rookie season as a faster option at the tight end position with Witten holding down the fort as the ace.
Hanna, like Escobar, is not a blocker but does present a considerable match-up problem for defenses.
Why take a tight end in the second round when you already have a proven veteran and an emerging sophomore on the roster?
The third and final reason that I don't really understand the pick is that it indicates that the Cowboys will be throwing the ball more and more in short-yardage situations.
With fullback Lawrence Vickers undergoing back surgery and only so many roster spots, it appears that the Cowboys will not have a fullback on the roster.
This marks a clear decision to move further away from the run game and to force Tony Romo to throw the ball more times than has proven efficient in the past.
With all of that said, Escobar was at, or near the top of the list at #47.
If the Cowboys' intentions with Escobar work, I have no problem with the pick.
If the Cowboys run “12 personnel” and “13 personnel” and it fails, I would have to say that Lacy would have been the better pick.
Pick #74 (acquired from San Francisco in trade): Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver, Baylor, 6 ft. 2 in. 208 lbs.
My Grade: second round
I love this pick for several reasons.
I think that Williams should be a starter soon enough.
I do wonder what this pick means for Dwayne Harris who emerged as a playmaking third receiver and a punt return stud, but Williams has all of the tools to be a starting wide out for the Cowboys, which should sure up Miles Austin to play in the slot where he is his most efficient.
The Cowboys had a first-round grade on Williams and when he slipped to the 74th pick overall, the Cowboys jumped on him like a dog on a bone.
He has decent speed, runs decent routes and has ideal size for the position.
I think that the team hopes that he can come in and do what Laurent Robinson did for the team in 2011.
But don't take it from me, Williams' college coach, Art Briles, had plenty to say about the Baylor receiver.
Dallas got a steal and he got a thrill,” Briles told dallascowboys.com. “It's great for both sides. (Williams) got to go the place he's always loved and supported and the Cowboys got a great football player and teammate. He'll be a great professional.”
Pick #80: J. J. Wilcox, Safety, Georgia Southern 6 ft. 0 in. 213 lbs.
My Grade: third round
I really liked Wilcox going into the draft and I was very surprised to see him fall to pick #80.
This was one of the deepest safety classes in years and Wilcox was a name that I thought wouldn't be there for the Cowboys with the 80th pick.
Safety was a need and the Cowboys got a good one in the small school draftee.
Wilcox had 88 tackles in 13 games for Georgia Southern in 2012.
He is a hard hitter who will sacrifice his body against the run.
He also shows a willingness to wrap up when he tackles.
I think he is the perfect candidate to play safety in the “Tampa 2” defense that new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be installing.
He will be fun to watch blowing people up, and he has the size and weight to be able to do that for 16 games without injury.
Pick #114: B.W. Webb, Cornerback, William and Mary, 5 ft. 10 in. 184 lbs.
My Grade: fourth round
With Morris Claiborne entering his second season and Brandon Carr in his second season in Dallas, one would imagine that Webb is being brought in to fill a special teams role.
The Cowboys had a pretty high grade on Webb and when he fell to them it was a no-brainer.
I don't know where Webb fits in defensively right now, but I do know that any depth is good depth in the secondary as injuries are common.
Webb shows up well on tape and also had a very nice Rookie Combine workout.
Pick #151 Joseph Randle, Running Back, Oklahoma State, 6 ft. 0 in. 204 lbs.
My Grade: fifth round
The Cowboys could have got the best running back in the draft with the 47th pick, but they get a decent one here with the selection of Joseph Randle.
Actually reminds me a lot of Demarco Murray.
His size is much like Murray's and his willingness to put his shoulder down also mirrors the Cowboys' starter.
Murray's top end speed is superior from the tape, but Randle should spell Murray nicely and provide a starter when injury occurs.
Pick #185: DeVonte Holloman, Linebacker, South Carolina, 6 ft. 1 in. 243 lbs.
My Grade: fifth round
Holloman is a converted safety much like Cowboy Bruce Carter.
Surprisingly, Holloman struggles in pass coverage, but does a nice job when the play is happening in front of him.
I like that he played in the SEC against the toughest competition in the country and I also like the fact that the linebacker class wasn't all that plucked when this pick came around.
If you can get anything out of a sixth-round pick, then you should be happy.
As it sits right now, Holloman will compete for a starting linebacker position in Monte Kiffin's 4-3 “Tampa 2.”
Bruce Carter and Sean Lee will start at the other two linebacker positions.
Something about this draft gives me a really bad feeling.
That being said, I feel like there might be a few starters in this class, which is more than I can say for the 2012 draft class.
In fact, according player grades provided by NFL.com, the Cowboys actually came away with the highest average player grade of all 32 teams.
Until these guys get out on the field, we won't know anything.
Anybody who tells you that this draft class is one way or the other right now is only trying to fill your head with their ideas.
The only way to judge any draft class is by play on the field, and we should have plenty of chances to watch this class when NFL play resumes.