The 2013 NFL Draft has come to a wrap. Just like that the months of anticipation seem senseless as we pretended to know what was going to happen.
The Cowboys came in with a different strategy as we anticipated but came out with a huge haul of guys with extreme upside.
The Cowboys didn’t walk away with the three starters we all thought they needed to. However, they did walk away with dynamic weapons that serve as above average depth and are now loaded up and down the depth chart.
Here is how I graded this year’s draft
Center Travis Frederick
The Cowboys are catching a lot of flack for drafting Frederick and rightfully so. They surrendered the 18th overall pick when a top prospect is on the board.
That’s all in the past now though.
The selection of Frederick will forever be known as a reach but it will not forever be known as a bad value. Offensive centers are hard to come by, especially good ones. The Cowboys got one here.
What you get with Frederick is a road-grading, mean interior lineman who is an excellent anchor in the center of the offensive line. Yes, he’s slow and might struggle at times but he has good size and eliminates defenders once he gets his hands on them.
Frederick is a good character, high IQ type player who diagnoses plays well. He can make the reads on the offensive line and take some of the pressure off of Romo’s pre-snap routine.
I expect Frederick to be a career type guy along with Tyron Smith who will make Cowboys happy for years to come.
Grade: A – Probably more of an A minus considering how much they did reach for him but he’ll be an asset to the offensive line and Tony Romo moving forward.
Tight End Gavin Escobar
Escobar is talented receiver who is really disciplined in his routes. He has extremely sure hands and will be an explosive playmaker for the Cowboys in the red-zone.
What you see with Escobar is strictly a receiving tight end but you see some glimpses of blocking ability and assume that Jason Witten will help him with technique to improve.
Overall, Escobar gives the offensive a completely different look. The Cowboys will now operate out of a base “singleback” package that will create mismatches in two tight end sets. The truth is that the Cowboys will be able to employ a two tight end set that the teams in the NFC East won’t be able to cover due to weaknesses in coverage.
Grade: B - Love the player but question the pick with some of the other guys available.
Wide Receiver Terrance Williams
What Williams offers the Cowboys is a legitimate outside receiver who an allow Miles Austin to effectively move to the slot and not worry about coverage adjustments. Williams is a weapon and one that will be utilized often in the Cowboys offense.
Another thing is that Austin isn’t exactly reliable and the Cowboys missed having a true outside receiver to fill in the void when he’s out. Williams offers an insurance policy as well as future star to keep along Dez Bryant for the foreseeable future.
Grade: A – Williams really fits what the Cowboys are looking to do moving forward.
Safety J.J. Wilcox
Wilcox is really as dynamic as they come. He is raw and slightly inexperienced but he has a tremendous skill-set.
Wilcox is an aggressive player with a mean attitude. He isn’t afraid to initiate contact and diagnoses plays well. Wilcox is always around the ball, playing with a wreckless abandon but sometimes getting overly aggressive.
Wilcox played running back and wide receiver before converting to safety. He has good speed and is really rangy. I like his instincts but he needs to hone is pure coverage skills. He’ll be fun to watch as he progresses.
Grade: A – Might take some development but he’s easily a starting caliber safety.
Cornerback B.W. Webb
I thought that this was weird pick but not a bad one. B.W. Webb is a guy who is extremely solid in pass coverage. He has exceptional ball skills and instincts when in coverage and he excels in man-press coverage.
Webb isn’t an asset in run support so it makes me wonder how he fits in the cover 2 defense. Regardless, Webb is still physical enough to make you enamored with his prospects.
Webb won’t overtake Brandon Carr or Morris Claiborne but he’ll compete with Orland Scandrick for the slot position. It’ll be fun to see what this trio of press-corners do in what appears to be a hybrid version of the Tampa 2.
Grade: B+ - Not a good overall pick in terms of scheme fit but considering value and skill-set this pick is tremendous.
Running Back Joseph Randle
This is going to be real quick. There is a ton of things that Joseph Randle does well. He is a three-down, all-around back that will eventually become a feature caliber back in the NFL.
Randle possess excellent vision and maneuverability in the open field and is explosive through holes. Additionally, Randle gives you a guy who is strong pass-protection as well as a solid receiver out of the back field.
Overall, this pick makes an incredible amount of sense. The Cowboys aren’t sure about Murray’s durability and will owe him a contract extension in two years while they also have to pay Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant.
Look for Randle to emerge as a young star for this team.
Outside Linebacker DeVonte Holloman
In the Tampa 2 defense, Holloman fits perfectly. He has good reaction times and is solid on zone coverage’s. I believe that he’ll be able to come in during sub packages to alleviate any potential mismatches out of the backfield or against tight ends.
The knock here is that Holloman is a guy who needs to improve his tackling. There is a need for depth at the linebacker position but the Cowboys seem to be happy with Justin Durant starting. This means that Holloman needs to bust it on special teams to be on the active roster.
Holloman had a DUI in 2011 and that’s worth keeping in your mind. He won’t get an automatic bid on this team, he has to want it.
Grade: B – Holloman is a decent player with one particular skill set. Would have liked a project offensive lineman or defensive lineman here.
Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
NAME: Stanley Morgan Jr.
POSITION: Wide Receiver
CONFERENCE: Big Ten
JERSEY: No. 8
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
"Where I come from ... I had to block for Leonard Fournette, I played on the same team as Tyrann Mathieu," Morgan said. "It's just guys like that around me that made me want to work harder, just to keep going and give it my all. It's something that I was born with."
Stanley Morgan Jr. was a consistent and productive wide receiver during his time at Nebraska. He projects as a "Z" receiver in the NFL, but is probably better suited to play in the slot because of his skill set. Might be the best route runner in the entire 2019 WR draft class.
There's no questioning his toughness and competitiveness. His passion for the game shows up on tape. Unafraid to carry his routes across the middle of field. Possess good separation ability due to his precise route running and his ability to change directions on a dime. Has an understanding of how to temper his routes as well and has a way of lulling defensive backs to sleep and catching them off guard.
Has soft natural hands and shows good technique at the catch point. Shows the ability to make contested catches. Large catch radius. Excellent catch focus and body control. Shows the ability to climb the ladder and high point passes. Unfazed with DBs draped on him and shows good spatial awareness along the sideline. Has a little wiggle to be a threat after the catch, but doesn't have homerun ability.
Stanley Morgan Jr. could be labeled as "just a guy" as a wide receiver prospect. There is nothing really special about his game and he has just average speed and athleticism. Despite his productivity and consistency at Nebraska, he may have already reached his peak.
Morgan may be nothing more than a slot receiver in the NFL. He doesn't possess the necessary speed to be a threat down the field and doesn't show a lot of burst out of his breaks. Average speed will limit his big-play ability as well. Struggles to beat press coverage, which could cause cornerbacks to sit on underneath routes.
Doesn't offer anything on special teams. Had a handful of opportunities at Nebraska as a kick and punt returner with very little success. Doesn't show a lot of functional strength on film. Lack of strength and power limits his blocking ability in the passing game. Arrested for marijuana possession in May 2017.
Although Stanley Morgan Jr. has the ability to play the "Z" position with the Dallas Cowboys, they would likely move him into the slot full-time as Cole Beasley's replacement now that he's officially moved on to the Buffalo Bills. He may not have the same kind of change of direction skills as Beasley, but Morgan's precise route running ability immediately makes him a threat in the Cowboys aerial attack as a rookie.
Morgan unfortunately doesn't offer much, if anything, on special teams. He returned a few kickoffs and punts during his time at Nebraska, but had marginal success. He will probably never be more than a WR3 and might have already reached his peak as a prospect, but he is the type of WR who can have a long career in the NFL. As a potential mid-round draft pick he is an intriguing slot option for the Cowboys, but probably won't help fans forget about No. 11 anytime soon.
Cowboys Draft Dilemma: Deebo Samuel (Rd. 2) vs. Stanley Morgan Jr. (Rd. 4)
There are a lot of fans around Cowboys Nation who are hoping former South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel is still on the board when the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock in the second-round with the 58th overall selection. Samuel is the dream replacement for Cole Beasley for a lot of us, but would likely be a luxury this early in the draft instead of a need.
I don't want to rain on the parade for all you Deebo Samuel fans, myself included, but I don't know if the Cowboys would pull the trigger on a WR that early. This is especially true considering there is someone who I believe compares favorably to Samuel and could be available at least two rounds later. In case you haven't figured out yet, I'm talking about former Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
Deebo Samuel of course is the more hyped WR and is in the running as one of the top five receivers in the 2019 draft class, but Stanley Morgan Jr. shouldn't be considered a consolation prize. These two WRs could be a carbon copy of one another on paper and tested surprisingly similar at the NFL Combine as well.
Don't take my word for it of course. Take a look for yourself…
Stanley Morgan Jr.
|Arm length||31 3/8"||32 3/8"|
|Hand size||10"||9 7/8"|
|20 yard shuffle||4.14||4.13|
|3 cone drill||7.03||6.78|
As you can see from the measurements and the testing, Deebo Samuel and Stanley Morgan Jr. are amazingly similar on paper. The similarities don't end there though. Both players are devastating with the ball in their hands and easily create separation through their route stems.
The only real difference I have seen between the two is Samuel is a little more thickly built and has been more productive as an outside receiver so far in his career. He is also the more powerful of the two, which serves him well in contested catch situations. That's not saying Morgan can't be just as effective as an outside WR. He just wasn't utilized in that manner during his time at Nebraska.
As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, both Samuel and Morgan would be ideal inside/outside WR candidates capable of replacing Cole Beasley in the slot. The only question now is which receiver would the Cowboys prefer?
It's really a tossup if you don't really know these receivers and have never watched them play, but not if you take into consideration what we know about the Dallas Cowboys. They like bargains, which is why I have a hard time believing they wouldn't be bargain shoppers in the 2019 NFL Draft like they have been so far in free agency.
As much as we all love Deebo Samuel and the skill set he would bring to the Cowboys, investing a second-round pick might be too high for Dallas considering they can get a similar player at least two rounds later. Stanley Morgan Jr. is a bargain I just don't think they could pass up.
This is all speculation of course, but it's definitely something to take into consideration when the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway.
Deebo Samuel or Stanley Morgan Jr.? Which receiver would you draft?
Cowboys Draft Target: Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram
NAME: Johnathan Abram
SCHOOL: Mississippi State
JERSEY: No. 38
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
HT: 5' 11 3/8"
|Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles|
Johnathan Abram, playing for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University, is considered the hardest hitting safety in college football. He's top NFL prospect, who is projected to be selected in the late 1st to early 2nd round(s) of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Johnathan Abram's biggest strength as a safety prospect is his ability to play around the line of scrimmage as a box safety, which is why he's projected to be a strong safety in the NFL. Possesses the prototypical size for the position. He also has the ability and skill set to play a hybrid safety/linebacker role as well.
Abram is at his best when he's playing downhill and sideline to sideline against the run. His size, strength, and physicality allow him to stack and shed blocks like a linebacker. Aggressive tackler who is always looking to deliver a big hit. Also shows good technique to get his head across the ball carrier's chest while wrapping up to make the tackle.
Shows adequate range and speed in coverage. Is able to flip his hips and redirect to change direction quickly, but there is some stiffness there as well. Has the size and athletic ability to match up with tight ends. Shows an understanding of route recognition. His physicality in the run game carries over into the passing game.
The biggest concern about Johnathan Abram's game is his ability, or lack thereof, in coverage. Whether it's an man or zone coverage, he struggles with his responsibilities and can be eaten alive by receivers who know what they're doing. This doesn't bode well for his transition to the NFL, which has become a heavy passing league.
His aggressive nature will get him into trouble in the passing game. Can be clunky in his transitions against good route runners. Will panic and grab when he's caught out of position, which has generated, or should have, flags being thrown. Lack of desired range will keep him from becoming a deep safety, making him a strong safety only.
Questionable ball skills. Only has two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in his career. Struggles locating the ball and doesn't show instincts or anticipation to jump routes. Can be too aggressive against the run, causing him to over pursue and create cutback lanes.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a hard-hitting strong safety who excels around the line of scrimmage, then Johnathan Abram is their guy. He is a heatseeking missile when playing downhill or sideline to sideline, and would play that Kam Chancellor type role on the backend of Kris Richard's defense. He has outstanding size and speed for the position, and is a more fluid athlete then he's given credit for. More of a "traditional" throwback safety.
Abram unfortunately struggles in coverage, despite showing good range and long speed. He may be nothing more than a box safety or nickel/dime linebacker in the NFL. This could hurt his chances of landing with the Cowboys, especially if they are looking for an interchangeable safety to pair with Xavier Woods. But, if there are looking for that "enforcer" type of player, they'd probably have to take him at 58 in the second-round because it's unlikely he will still be there when they're on the clock in the third-round.
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