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.
Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts
The next time we take a look at these mock drafts to see who various members of the media have landing with the Cowboys, it will be on the week of the NFL Scouting Combine. This 2018 Draft process is charging towards Dallas, and with it we have some new prospects to add to the radar this week.
After introducing you to two secondary players last week, along with a consensus top-10 player in Georgia's Roquan Smith, here is the latest crop of college talent to be mocked to America's Team.
CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama
This mock draft comes to us from Chris Trapasso, with the most complete receiver in the draft falling to the Cowboys.
"The Cowboys are thrilled with Ridley still being available. While he's not the biggest wideout and has a skinny frame, he's a dynamic route runner and has the deep speed Dallas has to inject into its offense."
Calvin Ridley may be the one WR in this draft too good for me to pass up on in the first round. As I've studied deeper into this class, the amount of talent available in the later rounds looks much more attractive for a Cowboys team that remains set on at least two starting receivers.
Should this WR depth deter the first 18 teams in the draft order from taking Alabama's Calvin Ridley though, this is a trigger that has to be pulled in Dallas.
Rotoworld: Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan
Josh Norris' mock draft produces a familiar outcome for the Cowboys, but the talent he passes up on to mock Hurst to this team is certainly interesting.
"I know Vita Vea is on the board, but in Hurst the team is getting more of an upfield, disruptive lineman. He has special moments off the snap, creating instant penetration and totally destroying the offense’s plan."
Yawn. It feels inevitable that at least one mock draft each week will have the Cowboys doubling up on Michigan defensive linemen in the first round - upgrading the 3T position with Hurst. While I'm not dismissing Hurst's talent in any way, I don't see a consistent enough player (nor enough of a difference maker) to warrant the 19th overall pick.
Should the Cowboys lose RFA David Irving, there is no doubt they'll be in need of a disruptive defensive tackle. As the roster stands now though, the Cowboys' bigger need is at the 1T position - which Norris ignores despite the best player at that position (Vea) being available.
Bleacher Report: Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech
Like Chris Trapasso's mock, Mike Tanier's latest draft projection has another top player sliding the Cowboys' way.
"Tremaine Edmunds has been a tricky player to slot in this mock draft. He has limitless upside, but at a position (off-the-ball linebacker) that few teams prioritize in the first round anymore. He should be a Bobby Wagner/Luke Keuchly-caliber contributor by 2019, but whoever drafts him will experience some growing pains as the not-yet-20-year-old Edmunds learns not to get sucked into play action or get caught flat-footed in coverage."
An argument could be made for Tremaine Edmunds as the best LB in this draft. At the very least, he is in elite company atop the board with Roquan Smith. Both prospects play the WILL position, which Tanier correctly points out as one that is devalued currently.
This shouldn't stop Smith from having his name called early in the 2018 Draft, and I have my doubts about it doing the same for Edmunds. A freak athlete out of Virginia Tech, Edmunds will be just 19 years old at the time of April's draft.
This bodes exceptionally well for the Cowboys, who are of course preparing to start Sean Lee at WILL once again. Drafting Edmunds may go against this team's philosophy of drafting immediate starters, along with first round linebackers.
With all that said, Tremaine Edmunds is not a player I could pass up on with the 19th overall pick.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The NFL Scouting Combine will give teams and draft analysts a much better evaluation of where all of these prospects truly belong. Through three weeks of doing this series, I can't say that any player mocked to the Cowboys has been a reach.
Instead, the likes of Smith, Edmunds, and Ridley could soon disappear entirely from the majority of Cowboys mock drafts moving forward. The bigger picture of who actually will be available to Dallas, and who they're targeting in the first round, is slowly coming into focus.
Cowboys Draft: 3 LBs To Pay Attention To
The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL offseason with clear needs to fill at linebacker. Starting MIKE backer Anthony Hitchens will enter free agency, starting WILL Sean Lee has been riddled with injuries, and the now third-year Jaylon Smith is still somewhat of a question mark.
Considering all of the doubts surrounding the Cowboys linebackers, it would be wise to target one during the 2018 NFL Draft. Of course, Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have become fan favorites over the last few months.
Both of these guys are clearly first round players, however, and may both be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. Dallas will probably need to find their linebacker starting on day two, so I have compiled a short list of some potential targets.
Josey Jewell, Iowa
With each NFL Draft cycle, scouts everywhere can typically feel good about their evaluations of Iowa Hawkeyes players. The BIG 10 school is known for producing solid, pro-ready talent that NFL teams absolutely need to fill out a roster. Enter Iowa Linebacker Josey Jewell, a three-year starter and captain on this Hawkeyes defense.
Iowa Hawkeye's linebacker Josey Jewell has been gaining traction within the draft community as of late. The three-year starter and collegiate captain has been discussed as one of the more pro-ready and consistent linebackers in this draft class.
Jewell earned a third round grade on my draft board, and fellow Inside The Star writer Sean Martin saw him in a similar light. Jewell possesses impressive instincts, plays with textbook technique, and is a solid run defender/tackler in the box.
His main weakness, however, is his athletic ability. He doesn't move laterally as well as someone like current Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith did in college. Jewell is a player with a solid floor, but not a very high ceiling. Drafting him would give the Cowboys another good piece on their defense, and a starting SAM backer.
Sean Martin believes he can play at either WILL or MIKE, and we both view him as a potential target for the Cowboys 81st overall.
Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Vander Esch reads it and attacks at 100 mph. Put this guy on my football team. https://t.co/RaTvP9sO7u
Boise State's Vander Esch is a linebacker garnering a lot of hype throughout Draft Twitter. At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Vander Esch certainly looks the part of an NFL linebacker. His athleticism and ability to move laterally leaves much to be desired, however.
Vander Esch totaled 141 tackles and 3 interceptions during the 2017 season, breaking onto the scene as a Junior. Vander Esch is a three down linebacker who has been labeled a leader and hard worker by his Boise State teammates and coaches, making him an excellent "RKG" candidate for Jason Garrett. He is an instinctual player who reads, reacts, and attacks on a routine basis against the run. He is also consistently impressive in coverage, something the Cowboys could use from their linebackers.
Despite his positives, which there are many, I just can't convince myself to draft Vander Esch as early as he's being talked about. I believe he can be a solid professional linebacker, and fit in as an off ball WILL, but if I were running the Cowboys I wouldn't make that pick until the third round.
And the way things look, Vander Esch will be long gone by the 81st overall pick. Maybe Dallas will see things differently, and make the move in round two.
Rashaan Evans, Alabama
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My favorite of these three linebackers, Alabama's Rashaan Evans is an off ball/edge hybrid who was all over the field for Alabama.
At 'Bama, Evans had six sacks and 10 quarterback hits, ranking 16th in pass rushing productivity (Pro Football Focus) among all qualifying draft-eligible inside linebackers. Still, I believe his best plays came from when lined up as a traditional off ball linebacker.
In Dallas, Evans could be used as a WILL backer who also rushes as a defensive end in passing situations. The 6'3" 234 pound linebacker is exactly the type of player that NFL defenses are moving towards, and he would be a welcomed addition to this young Cowboys defense.
I believe Rashaan Evans is a top-30 type of player, making it tough to envision being able to draft him 50th overall. If completely wiped out, Evans could be a candidate at 19, though I wouldn't hold my breath. Evans is ILB3 on my draft board, and earned the highest grade of these three linebackers.
Could This Draft Sleeper be Dez Bryant’s Successor?
One of my favorite parts of the NFL offseason is jumping into the draft process and studying the next group of incoming rookies. I don't pretend to be a professional scout, but I do trust my own analysis for the most part. I find myself right about these prospects more times than not, but no one is perfect.
When scouting these prospects, I am particularly looking at players that fit in with what the Dallas Cowboys like whether it is based on scheme or preference. I try not to waste my time with the ones who I don't believe fit into those categories.
Today, I want to share with you a wide receiver I happened to stumble upon who isn't getting talked about enough, but probably should. He is still flying under the radar, but I think that could change here in a few weeks when the NFL Combine gets underway.
We all know the Dallas Cowboys would probably like to add another receiver at some point in the draft, but when and where is debatable. I think it's unlikely they take one on Day 1, and possibly not even Day 2. It will likely depend on how things fall, but Day 3 could still have quite a few good options available.
I've started to study these Day 3 prospects, and I think I've found a diamond in the rough. I'm actually surprised he hasn't been talked about, but that could be good news for the Cowboys.
Let me be the first to introduce you to former Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle, Korey Robertson.
WR Korey Robertson, Southern Miss
I don't know about you, but I don't think of ever watched Southern Mississippi play a single collegiate game. They're not a big powerhouse school and don't produce a lot of high-end draft picks, but we've seen small school players make a name for themselves in the NFL before.
As you can imagine, I wasn't expecting much when I started to watch Korey Robertson's game film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think he has the potential to be a WR1 in the NFL and he reminds me a lot of the Dallas Cowboys own, Dez Bryant.
Robertson was a surprise early entry into the 2018 NFL draft class. He had remaining eligibility left and could have possibly improved his draft stock by returning to Southern Miss, but that's neither here nor there now.
Robertson certainly looks the part of a WR1 in the NFL. He is 6'2", 210 pounds and plays with amazing physicality. I think he could be the best WR in this draft class at attacking the ball in the air and winning those 50/50 jump balls. This is where he reminds me of Dez Bryant the most.
But don't take my word for it, take a look at his highlights and judge for yourself.
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I really like what I seen of Korey Robertson. I think he really makes an intriguing wide receiver prospect for the Dallas Cowboys. I personally think he has WR1 potential.
He registered 76 catches for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns this last season, so the production is there, but he's far from a finished prospect.
Robinson still needs to fine-tune his route running, but it's not terrible. He shows good speed on film and is expected to run in the 4.4 range at the combine. That would definitely boost his draft stock.
I think he checks just about all of the boxes. He has the size, speed, catches the ball easily (with his hands), and plays with the physicality that will immediately make him a fan favorite.
I currently have a third-round grade on him, but I'm probably higher on him with others. I think he will be a Day 3 draft pick, which means the Dallas Cowboys could use one of their compensatory picks to select this talented wide receiver.
What do you think of Korey Robertson as a potential Cowboys WR?
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