Dallas Cowboys: Nahshon Wright reach, incomparable to Travis Frederick

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Nahshon Wright with their 99th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it sparked quite the controversy in Cowboys Nation. For those who spent time studying the prospects this offseason, Wright was a significant reach in the top-100.

Most draft boards had him firmly slotted as a later round pick or even an undrafted free agent. As someone who personally liked him as a prospect, I was interested in drafting him…in the seventh round. So it’s understandable many Draftniks like me, like the prospect, and hate the value of the pick, all at the same time.

The Dallas Cowboys Nahshon Wright pick has incorrectly drawn comparisons to Travis Frederick

When pressed about the pick and his perceived “reach” Stephen Jones likened the pick to when the Dallas Cowboys selected Travis Frederick back in 2013:

"“It only takes one other team to like him and you’ve got to trust what your scouts say about him,” Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “Only thing I’d tell you is I remember a player named Travis Frederick that the whole world said he should’ve been a third, fourth, fifth, sixth round pick. And last I checked, Travis had a great career and went to six or seven Pro Bowls.”"

This same sentiment is echoed by a certain loyal faction of Cowboys Nation anytime anyone even remotely utters a critical thought about the Dallas Cowboys draft decisions. Statements like, “If you knew better you’d work for an NFL team”, “I think the Dallas Cowboys know better than a sports writer”, and “That’s what they said about Travis Frederick!”

So, does Stephen and his merry band of supporters have a point? Is this really Travis Frederick all over again?

Not really.

First, Stephen seems to be a little murky on the details of Travis Frederick’s draft profile. That 2013 draft was my first draft as a professional sports writer, so the memory is especially vivid for me and it’s NOT how he’s describing it.

Travis Frederick was a 16 pick reach, Nahshon Wright was roughly a 90 pick reach

No scout worth his salt was predicting Frederick to go in the fifth or sixth round. He was considered the best in the class and the first C/G to go off the board. Travis Frederick No. 1 and he went No. 1. Nahshon, on the other hand, was Dane Brugler’s 38th CB and he was drafted 12th – not exactly the same kind of reach situation, is it?

Mike Mayock, one of the most respected draft analysts at the time said of the Frederick pick, “I had a third round grade on this guy.” Most other scouting sites placed the future Hall of Famer between Rounds 2-3.

The Dallas Cowboys were debating between Frederick in the first or the second round. After trading back, their first round pick was No. 31. Their second round pick was No. 47 so we’re only taking about a 16 pick delta here – nothing like the 90 pick reach Stephen is trying to sell you on.

After the 2013 draft, word came out two teams where targeting Frederick early in the second round, so there was a pretty good chance Frederick wouldn’t have made it to Round 2. So Dallas was only drafting him a little earlier than he was slotted for. The outrage may be similar but the situations were vastly different .

More from Cowboys Draft

As we stated earlier, Nahshon Wright was rated by Dane Brugler as the 38th CB in the draft. He was drafted 12th. While Brugler’s grades ignore specific scheme fit, it does give a view of overall value. And since Wright is considered a very scheme specific player, there’s only a handful of NFL teams that would even consider him. I mean, if you’re not playing a Cover-3/Cover-1, Wright is going to be a terrible fit.

There were better players available and he most likely could have been picked up in the sixth or seventh round anyway. The Dallas Cowboys could have had their cake and ate it too.

We have to remember, most draft criticism/praise is based on the value of each pick. Did the team get a 1st round talent in the 2nd round? Did a top100 player fall to them in Day 3? Did they get a steal? This is the backbone of grading and it’s the reason so many heaped praise on the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. It’s the same process this year.

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Saying Nahshon Wright was a bad pick at 99 isn’t saying Nahshon is going to be a bad player. It’s just an indictment on the value and overall strategy of the pick. He’s a good player and even though I gave the pick a D- I think he’ll be a decent fit in Dallas.

  • Published on 05/06/2021 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 05/06/2021 at 13:40 PM