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2013 NFL Draft: What Dallas Cowboys GM Jerry Jones and Weathermen Have in Common

In Sports on April 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Cowboys draft picks 2013

The 2013 NFL Draft is complete, and all of the priority rookie free agents have been signed.  Grades on the draft are pouring in from all over the country today.  While accurate grades on this year’s draft can’t truly be given for another three years (once these players have an NFL body of work to evaluate), the bottom line is that Dallas Cowboys GM, Jerry Jones, has once again left experts and fans scratching their heads for not addressing the most glaring needs on the team.  Fortunately for Jones, he has one of the two jobs in the world that has no penalty for constantly making mistakes.  The other being a weatherman.

Outside of the Cowboys organization, it is difficult to find people who thought that their first round trade (which dropped them down 13 picks), returned fair compensation.  But more importantly, it is impossible to find anyone who believes that Wisconsin Center, Travis Frederick, should have been chosen in the first round, including Fredrick himself, who expected to get picked no earlier than the second round.

Assuming that Frederick would have been available when the Cowboys picked in the second round (which is a very safe assumption), the trade should be evaluated over time by answering the following questions:

[1]     Is Gavin Escobar a productive NFL Tight End, and how does he compare to Tyler Eifert (the TE that the Cowboys could have drafted with the 18th pick in the first round)?

[2]     Is Terrence Williams a productive NFL Wide Receiver?

[3]     Is the combination of Escobar and Williams as good, or better than, Eifert or Shariff Floyd, the DT out of Florida that was considered by many to be a top five talent?

All first round picks will be under pressure to produce, but Frederick may have the most pressure on him because of his draft position, team needs and the fact that Jones did nothing to address the offensive line after the first round.

The offensive line was the biggest weakness of the Cowboys going into the draft, and yet only one pick was used to address the position.  To make matters worse, the Cowboys signed 15 rookie free agents after the draft, none of which are offensive lineman.  Even though undrafted linemen are unlikely to earn a starting role, their presence would at least push last year’s underachievers to play to their potential.

By all accounts, Frederick should provide an upgrade to the middle of the offensive line.  However, even if he is better than the Cowboys expected, and he justifies his draft position, what happens if he goes down with a season-ending injury?  Who is going to help protect the $100 million quarterback?  Escobar, the pass-catching TE with limited blocking skills?  Williams, the projected third WR?

In a featured article on DallasNews.com after the draft was completed, Cowboys Head Coach, Jason Garrett, stated “games are won up front on the offensive and defensive lines.”

The post-draft comments from many experts state that Garrett has now been given the tools to create a prolific offense, but based on his comments about the importance of offensive and defensive lines, it seems as though he has been set up to fail and lose his job after yet another disappointing season.

Many teams passed on Floyd (Florida DT), so the Cowboys can’t be totally faulted for doing so as well, but they can be heavily criticized for failing to draft a defensive lineman with any of their seven picks.  Adding insult to injury, none of their 15 rookie free agent signings were defensive lineman, despite the fact that it is an obvious area of need for the Cowboys.

However, according to Jones, defensive line is a position of strength for the Cowboys.  He better hope that aging DT’s Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher stay healthy and out of trouble if they plan on having a pass rush up the middle, a key component of Monte Kiffin’s “Tampa 2 Defense.”

Sadly, the most exciting Cowboys pick of this year’s draft was 5th round RB, Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State).  He is the one proven commodity that was looked at as a “value” pick while also filling a need.

The rest of the Cowboys draft consisted of players with tons of upside potential, which is great for teams with deep rosters like the San Franscisco Forty Niners and New England Patriots, but not for an underachieving team with salary cap issues and aging stars trying to make a run before their window of opportunity closes.  This strategy even makes sense for teams that have entered a period of rebuilding because they have time to see the potential realized.

Will J.J. Wilcox transition from a small school Safety with one year of experience into an NFL star?  Possibly, but the odds of him doing so this season are fairly remote.

Even if small school prospect, B.W. Webb, becomes the team’s 4th CB, the only way to justify picking him over a lineman is if he becomes a game-changer as a return man.

LB DeVonte Holloman fills a need, and has value in the 6th round, but you have to wonder what the thought process was in drafting someone who slid in the draft because of a DUI conviction, in light of what happened with Josh Brent, who will miss the entire 2013 season and may very well end up doing significant jail time for killing a fellow teammate while driving drunk.

Ever since Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys, Jones has been trying to prove that he is capable of orchestrating a Super Bowl victory on his own.  Based on this year’s draft picks and crop of rookie free agents, it doesn’t seem like the Cowboys are any closer to making the playoffs this year, much less a Super Bowl.

Luckily for Jones, even if the Cowboys deliver another 8-8 season, he is at no risk of losing his GM position.  After all, his boss has tolerated mediocrity for the past 17 years.   Like weathermen, Jones’ inability to forecast carries no consequence, so Cowboy fans can look forward to another pedestrian year of football in the coming season.

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