With the 2013 season in the rearview mirror, the Dallas Cowboys look towards the future to address their weaknesses through Free Agency & the NFL Draft. Despite some shady picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cowboys were able to get some really good production out of their draft picks. Without further ado, let’s look at the Cowboys’ rookies in review:
1st Round, 31st Pick: Travis Frederick
The selection of Frederick drew tons of unhappy Cowboy fans. Dallas’ offensive line was their biggest problem after 2012. But it was the guard position that needed an upgrade, rather than the center position. With the 18th pick of the draft, the Cowboys had a top 5 pick in Sharrif Floyd fall right into their hands. Instead of selecting him, the Cowboys traded that pick to the 49ers for their first round pick and an extra third round pick. The 49ers would Eric Reid, while the Cowboys would pick Frederick and Terrance Williams. Frederick was a key cog on this offensive line. Besides Pro Bowler Tyron Smith, there may not have been a better player on this offensive line than Frederick. Although he had some trouble against 3-4 teams, Frederick will be a mainstay for years to come in Big D.
2nd Round, 47th Pick: Gavin Escobar
In the first year of the Gavin Escobar experiment, the Cowboys missed big-time. Although he is still young and undeveloped, Escobar has a ton of potential going forward. His biggest problem was his run-blocking ability. But when the Cowboys ran the ball in 2 tight end sets, it was James Hanna who came into block. Jason Witten is getting older and older. As much as Cowboys fans do not want to hear it, the future Hall of Famer is declining at this stage in his career. Escobar’s lack of production in 2012 was largely due to his role in the offense. Escobar finished 2013 with 9 catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. His upside is very undeniable. In 2014, he could be a fun player to watch. He has the athletic ability to do this for the Cowboys.
3rd Round, 74th Pick: Terrance Williams
Terrance Williams was a guy who has one of the best receivers in country during his 2012 season at Baylor. Although he was talented and had a lot of potential, Williams had to overcome a few obstacles. Coming out of Baylor, Williams was a body-catcher. At Baylor, there was not a route tree, which played a big impact in the first month of his NFL career. The problem with receivers coming out of college is their inability to pick up on an NFL playbook. Besides Keenan Allen on San Diego, you could argue there has not been a better rookie receiver in the NFL than Williams. In a year where Miles Austin disappointed greatly, Williams was a bright spot opposite of Bryant. In the future, Williams has potential to go over 1,000 yards as early as next year.
3rd Round, 80th Pick: J.J. Wilcox
Wilcox came out of a small school in Georgia Southern. After the draft, Wilcox seemed like he would become a starter opposite out Barry Church. In the beginning of the season, Wilcox played really well. But after a head injury late in the season, Wilcox regressed quickly. In fact, he lost his starting job to Jeff Heath in the season. Wilcox will get another chance in 2014 to regain his starting job, but he may have to beat out a safety if the Cowboys draft one this year. A guy like Ha-Ha Clinton Dix is on the Cowboys’ radar, and he just has more skill and ability than Wilcox.
4th Round, 114th Pick: B.W. Webb
Webb was another guy that came out of a small school in a rough transition to the NFL. Webb was invisible for much of the season. In fact, he could be cut as early as next year. To give you an idea, Webb was inactive late in the season for the likes of Sterling Moore. In 2013, Webb only had one pass deflection. This pick was surprising because the Cowboys already had Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and Orlando Scandrick. Webb could be cut after training camp next year if he fails to improve.
5th Round, 151st Pick: Joseph Randle
Randle was an interesting pick out of Oklahoma State. The need for a backup running was a viable need after 2012. But, speedster Lance Dunbar emerged as the backup to DeMarco Murray in training camp. Before Dunbar progressed, the pick of Randle did not make sense because Randle & Murray are very similar. Like Murray, Randle is a bruiser. In 2 games where Murray was out, Randle accounted for 137 yards, as well as a touchdown against the Redskins when Murray left the game. It will be interesting to see Randle’s future role in Dallas with the improved play of Dunbar.
6th Round, 185th Pick: DeVonte Holloman
Holloman was my favorite selection of the draft. Holloman is an athletic freak. He played safety in college, and made a transition to linebacker in his senior year. In the beginning of the season, a freak neck injury cut into his progression. When Holloman returned, he was immediately inserted into the lineup because of injuries to Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, and Ernie Sims. In week 16 & 17, Holloman played awfully well. He was able to make an impact in the last two weeks. Against the Eagles, Holloman had 11 total tackles and two sacks. His athletic ability will give the Cowboys a very fun player to watch going into the future. He could be starting at the SAM linebacker by 2014.
Despite many busts, this draft was not as bad as 2009′s draft. The Cowboys were able to get a few playmakers, who will be big-time players as soon as next year. Frederick, Williams, and Holloman are the clear boomers out of this draft. The jury is still out of Escobar, Wilcox, Webb, and Randle. I still believe Escobar, Wilcox, and Randle have a future on this team. It will be interesting to see how these rookies progress for the future.
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