Reporting Bill Jones
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With the 2013 Cowboys Draft now in the books, we now know the Cowboys didn’t feel like they needed a defensive tackle but did want a tight end and a wide receiver. So, since we now have that bit of knowledge, let’s go on record with what might have been.
I’m taking up draft guru Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News on his challenge in today’s paper, and here’s my Cowboys Re-Draft. I’ll clip and save so we can re-visit and compare this with the Cowboys picks in the future:
1st – 31 – TRAVIS FREDERICK – C/G – WISCONSIN (6-4, 312)
- I like the trade down to acquire the extra 3rd round pick and agree with Jerry Jones that Frederick was “the last of the Mohicans” that fit the Cowboys scheme and should walk in and immediately start at center.
2nd – 47 – GAVIN ESCOBAR – TE – SAN DIEGO STATE (6-6, 254)
- I love the idea of using a high draft pick to add a pass catching tight end…if the offense is going to change to use the talents of three quality pass catching TEs (Witten, James Hanna, and Escobar). In fact, before the Morris Claiborne trade materialized last year, I proposed that the Cowboys trade down in the 1st round and take Stanford TE Coby Fleener.
- Another possibility here would have been to take Stanford TE Zach Ertz at 31, but my understanding is that the Cowboys had Escobar ranked higher, and I agree that it was more important to secure the center at 31.
- Escobar has great hands – catches everything – with 33 ½ arms – has build and reach to develop into good blocker – needs to add strength – gets slung to the ground by defenders while run blocking
3rd – 74 – STEDMAN BAILEY – WR – WEST VIRGINIA (5-10, 193)
- I like Terrance Williams and understand the Cowboys preference for a bigger outside receiver. Williams is 6-2, 208 and gives the Cowboys options in the future with Miles Austin on the back end of his contract and Dez Bryant approaching free agency in two years.
- Having said that, my pick would have been Bailey, who was drafted 18 picks later by St. Louis. I happen to think Bailey might be the best pure wide receiver in this draft…had an amazing 25 TD catches last year, his junior season at West Virginia.
- Terrific route runner with great hands and long speed, Bailey can play outside or in the slot.
3rd – 80 – TRADE DOWN – NEW ORLEANS – For 2 4th round picks (106 & 109)
- New Orleans traded these picks to Miami to acquire 3rd rounder (182) and take NT John Jenkins
4th – 106 – BARRETT JONES – C – ALABAMA (6-4 ½, 306)
- Love this player and when he fell to the 4th round, due to injury concerns following foot surgery in January, the Cowboys needed to acquire extra picks and take this 4 year starter at three different positions (Outland, Rimington, & Academic Heisman winner) for a 3-time national champion.
- Jones was taken in the 4th round (113) by St. Louis, who say he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
- Conceivably, by taking Jones in the 4th round, the Cowboys could have had possibly two walk-in starters in Frederick and Jones. Both are highly versatile starters at each of the interior line positions, and Jones even won the Outland as a left tackle his junior year.
4th – 109 – STEVE WILLIAMS – CB – CALIFORNIA (5-9, 181)
- I have no problem with the Dallas selection of William & Mary CB B.W. Webb, but I prefer this Dallas Skyline product who left school after his junior year and ran a 4.34 forty at the combine with a 40 ½ vertical and 10-8 broad jump (almost identical athleticism as Webb).
4th – 114 – MARCUS LATTIMORE – RB – SOUTH CAROLINA (5-11, 221)
- By acquiring the extra picks, the Cowboys are now in position to do what the 49ers did later in the 4th round at #131: take the best running back in this draft even though he is coming off a gruesome knee injury.
- Cowboys can take Lattimore, let him rehab, and with the backs sliding in this draft, they can still take another quality running back later in this draft
- Nothing again Joseph Randle, whom the Cowboys took in the 5th round, but I’d rather take a flyer on Lattimore.
5th – 151 – TRADE DOWN – ST. LOUIS – for two 6th round picks (184 & 198)
- St. Louis traded 184 & 198 to Houston to acquire 5th round pick (160) and take RB Zac Stacy
6th – 184 – REX BURKHEAD – RB – NEBRASKA (5-10, 214)
- As I’ve blogged before, this is my favorite player in this draft. I would have taken him earlier than this, and I believe the Cowboys made a huge mistake not taking Burkhead in the 6th round. They had a great opportunity to fortify the running back position with both Joseph Randle and Burkhead behind Demarco Murray and missed badly.
6th – 185 – JOE KRUGER – DE – UTAH (6-6, 269)
- This is my sleeper pick of the draft. Love Kruger’s athleticism and potential.
- Youngest brother of former Baltimore Raven and current Cleveland Browns OLB Paul Kruger.
- While the Eagles drafted Kruger in the 7th round to grow into a 3-4 DE, I believe he has the size and athleticism to be a 4-3 base DE, perhaps one that would give the Cowboys an option a year from now if Anthony Spencer isn’t signed to a long term contract.
- Kruger ran a 4.8 forty with a 1.66 10-yard split, had 24 bench reps with a 34 vertical, 9-9 broad jump, and 7.17 cone drill. Athletic freak Margus Hunt of SMU (6-8, 277), a 2nd round pick of the Bengals, ran a 4.62 (1.63 split) with a 34 ½ vertical, 10-1 broad jump, and 7.07 cone drill. Similar numbers, but the 20-year old Kruger is six years younger than Hunt.
6th – 198 – TONY JEFFERSON – S – OKLAHOMA (5-11, 213)
- This is too good a player not to get drafted…the reason he didn’t is because he didn’t test well during the pre-draft process, unable to complete workouts at the Combine and his Pro Day due to a lingering hamstring strain…he signed as an undrafted free agent with Arizona.
- The only safety in this draft class to walk into a top BCS program and start his true freshman season, Jefferson was an active, playmaking 3-year starter with 8 career interceptions, 18 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks.
- An NFL scout told me right after the season that he considered Jefferson to be a “poor man’s Kenny Vaccaro”, a late 2nd or early 3rd round draft pick. However, his stock fell to the point that he wasn’t drafted.
- Jefferson just turned 21 in January, a full two years younger than Vaccaro, yet seems to have the makeup to make a successful transition to this league. I expect him to surprise a lot of NFL scouts.
- Yes, we passed on prospect J.J. Wilcox, a player some scouts love. However, the fact Wilcox only played one season at safety for a small school and the fact Georgia Southern coaches didn’t seem to find a position for him until his senior year is too much of a red flag for me to spend a 3rd round draft pick on. I think Jefferson is a safer pick and a better player than Wilcox.
So, there it is, three trade downs, a total of nine new Dallas Cowboys: On offense, they add C Travis Frederick, G Barrett Jones, TE Gavin Escobar, WR Stedman Bailey, and RBs Marcus Lattimore and Rex Burkhead. And, the defense gets CB Steve Williams, DE Joe Kruger, and S Tony Jefferson.
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