The Cowboys selection of Travis Frederick is simply a bad use of resources

For the last 3 years, I have railed on the Cowboys for not drafting offensive line help. And yet, I hate the pick. Worse, I hate the strategy. The value the Cowboys received in landing an extra 3rd round pick by trading back from 18 to 31 was awful, but we’ll get to that later in the day. For now let’s focus on the pick itself:

1. Travis Frederick’s physical measurables are terrible.

At the 2013 Combine, he ran a 5.58 40 time. Only one player was slower. And not only is he slow, but he only did 21 reps on the bench press. That was worst among centers in this draft. To be fair, just because a player tests well at the Combine doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good football player. Conversely, players who test poorly aren’t automatically destined for failure.

However, there is something to be said for the Combine, and players with measuarables as bad as Frederick’s aren’t going to have much upside. What you see is what you’re going to get, and not much more.

2. Centers can be found late in the draft.

Of course, that statement can be made for almost any position and I think it sounds foolish when people apply it to Tom Brady, but I think it applies heavily to RBs and centers. For example, who are the 5 best centers in the NFL, and the 5 worst? I can’t answer that since I haven’t evaluated them all, and while I hate to do this, I’ll use ProFootballFocus’ 2012 rankings as a crutch. Note the draft positions of each grouping of the Top 5:

PFF 5 best

And the Bottom 5:

PFF 5 worst

Only 1 of the top 5 was drafted before the 6th round. Three of the bottom 5 went in the 2nd round or higher. I can understand using a high pick on one of the Pouncey brothers, who had outstanding game tape, but for a big-bodied anchor guy with a lot of tenacity, but extremely minimal room for growth? Those players are a dime a dozen.

3. Is it really a “safe pick?”

I’ve seen the argument made that this is a “safe pick,” in that while Frederick’s ceiling may be low, his floor is high. What that means is that Frederick may not ever be a physical athletic marvel, but he is almost guaranteed to be at least a serviceable starter. Why? Is there any reason to come to the conclusion that there’s no chance he’ll be a complete and total bust? Why is it a “safe pick?”

4. His game film is OK, but nothing special.

Here are two games that cut up of Frederick. Minus good measurables, you would expect to see a dominant player on game tape. In fairness, these two games are I have to work with (I’d prefer to see more), but with what is provided here, this was not anything remotely close to a dominant player at the collegiate level:

  1. Frederick vs. Stanford
  2. Frederick vs. Michigan State

Travis Frederick will upgrade the Cowboys’ offensive line. From Day 1, he’ll be better than Phil Costa, who simply couldn’t hold his ground against stronger DTs. Frederick will anchor well in pass pro, and he’ll be better in the run game. He also could potentially play some guard. He may even go on to have a good NFL career.

But being better than Phil Costa or Nate Livings isn’t good enough for a 1st round pick.

Frederick’s limited upside, the value of the center position, the player’s underwhelming game tape, and the fact that there isn’t even some kind of magical guarantee that it’s a “safe pick” makes this a terrible use of resources, especially when the Cowboys could have gotten an impact player at 18.


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  10. Joshua Davis says:

    Your first point is the 40 time? Pretty comical. I don’t know if I need to continue reading.

    1. FloridaEagle says:

      You do realize that 40 times are important for lineman because they need to consistently get to the second level, right?

    1. TURD FERGUSON says:

      is so reliable. Love how you cherry pick the articles to only support your position.

  11. Old Nass says:

    While one may not like the pick, and one may not like giving up on some of the names available at #18 (Sharriff Floyd), it’s hard to argue that Dallas didn’t get good value for the pick, especially considering:

    1. Historical draft trade values:

    2. The desire among many teams to trade down in this draft, making it harder to get good value in a trade-down scenario.

    Just because New England swindled the Vikings doesn’t mean this wasn’t a good deal for Dallas from a value perspective.


      They came out ahead according to it. And going by the old chart: the Rams lost value too, and the Raiders got positively RAPED.

  12. blurghbllah says:

    Looked up a scouting report on him, and saw this:
    “Shotgun snaps are reliable with good velocity.”
    Stopped reading right there, A+++ 10/10 best pick ever.

  13. Bob says:

    What I don’t get is that you pour hate onto this selection, and basically no commented when the Giants selected Pugh. You could make pretty much the exact same arguments about that selection, and the ‘boys got a 3rd rounder too.

    1. Pugh is a very highly thought of player. A lot of people around the league loved him. Completely different.

      1. HA! says:

        Pugh went WAY higher than projected. And so did Kyle Long right after him. Historic run on o-linemen in this draft. NO WAY of knowing if Frederick would have been available at 47.

      2. Bob says:

        Birddog (NFL scout over at BtB, I believe you are acquainted) really likes him, to the extent that he would have been happy just to straight up select him at 18.

  14. Jessy S. says:

    Jimmy, you are using selective reasoning at best. Your data is about as good as last year’s Eagles team. The fact is that eight offensive linemen were taken in the 1st round including Fredrick. Also, St. Louis and Green Bay were kicking the tires on his draft status as well. I think we can both agree that Fredrick wouldn’t have been there at #47 so what were the Cowboys supposed to do, whine to Roger Goodell saying that the draft is unfair? The Cowboys made the right decision in drafting Fredrick after trading down and getting a extra third round pick.

    1. I think we can both agree that Fredrick wouldn’t have been there at #47

      We can?

      1. Jessy S. says:

        Jimmy, the fact remains is that the Cowboys traded a pick and gained a 7th pick in the process. With the first pick, Fredrick was the 8th of the 1st round o-linemen taken in the round. There was also talk that Tennessee was looking at him in the second round at pick #34. What were the Cowboys supposed to do anyway, sit on their hands and hand the Eagles, Giants, or Redskins the NFC East?

  15. Fred says:

    Based on the updated trade value chart that was made on this site a couple days ago, they got about what they should have for the trade. I would have liked them to get more or not trade down, but I always want that.

    The guy looks like he could be a solid starter for several years. I think if you got that every year in the first round, you would have a pretty good team. He provides them an immediate upgrade at a need position, particularly against 3-4 teams. If nothing else, he’s not going to get dumped into Romo’s lap every down like the guys they have in the middle now.

  16. take dat says:

    Ok the Eagles won the most Draft bowls in The NFC EAST but The Cowboys won the most SUPER BOWLS IN THE NFC EAST,Jerry along has more than the Eagles!

    1. slandog says:

      Jerry’s done nothing the last 15 years in terms of winning. You hold onto your superbowls because it doesn’t look like any coming in your near future. Who has he drafted that is really proving he’s good at what he does? He gets one pick correct every year, but that just isn’t enough.

    2. FloridaEagle says:

      The Eagles have 3 NFL championships. If you’re so obsessed about living in the past, you should know this.

    1. Ouch. Comparatively speaking, I had mercy.

      1. I’m going to have to try to top him with the Cowboys’ 2nd round pick.

    2. NYG_Slater says:

      Best part, even frederick knew it was a reach.

      “I thought I was a second-round offensive lineman,” (frederick) told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I thought somewhere in the second round would be more of a fit for me. I truly didn’t expect this.”

      1. David_Does_Dallas says:

        If players decided their position you would have 20 #1 overall selections.

        1. NYG_Slater says:

          thats part of my point. Prospects always tend to inflate their value. Frederick was deflating his, even after he got drafted.

          1. Jessy S. says:

            But he has humanity, which is nice.

  17. Jeff says:

    Here are some other combine measurables comparing Frderick to offensive line propsects projected to go within the first 2-3 rounds.

    Frederick’s 20 yard shuttle: 4.76

    Better than:

    Warmack (5.01)
    Cooper (4.84)
    Warford (5.10)
    Fluker (5.00)
    Watson (5.01)

    Winters (4.76) has an identical time; Schwenke’s (4.74) time is nearly identical.

    Frederick’s 3 cone: 7.81

    Better than:

    Warmack (7.93)
    Watson (8.31)

    Frederick does not compare favorably here and it would take much more time to list the prospects with better 3 cone times.

  18. David_Does_Dallas says:

    Repost from Reddit:

    “I have a theory that Dallas is about to switch to the no-huddle offense as their base offense in 2013. Considering how successful Dallas was while in the no-huddle in 2012, this is a great move. My theory is based on 2 parts. 1) Jerry commenting that he wants Romo more involved in the offense. How is that possible other than going to the no-huddle? 2) Dallas not willing to disclose their playcaller for 2013. Because its going to be Romo. Frederick is a great pick if my theory is correct that Dallas is about to run the no-huddle as their base offense in 2013. You need a smart center to pull that off. Jim Kelly had Kent Hull. Peyton Manning had Jeff Saturday. Neither Hull nor Saturday were amazing Centers, but both were incredibly smart. Hull was a 3-time Pro Bowler, Saturday went 6 times. If this theory is correct, they couldn’t chance missing on the smartest Center in the draft when their entire offense is about to be dependent on having a smart Center. Travis Frederick has been in college for 3 years and has already double majored in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He was the smartest Center and the best Center, all in 1 guy. Dallas has started a new habit of drafting the best player at a position in the draft and they have been successful with this logic so far. Now, I don’t mean the best player available when they draft. I mean the #1 of a position on their board when they draft. We saw it last year with Claiborne. They made a move for the #1 CB. The year before, they were able to sit at 9 and get the best OT in Tyron Smith. The year before Smith, they moved up 2 spots to get their #1 WR on their board, Dez Bryant. This new strategy is working.”

    As I value your opinion, what do you think about that?

    1. It could be a growing trend in the NFL with the Pats running it successfully. Not a bad thought.

      1. Still pretty tough to run the no huddle when you are constantly waiting for your Center to gallivant down the field to the huddle after a play of 10+ yards…

  19. Jeff says:

    Not that it changes your argument much but I think Frederick might start at G.

    1. Yeah, I saw that. If that’s the case, I think it’s even worse value, frankly.

  20. outsyderz34 says:

    I think the defense people are using that “he was the top rated center” is hilarious. First of all, what does that even matter? Why not just draft the top kicker in round one like the Raiders did? Or a punter for that matter? Like the Raiders did. I’m starting to see a pattern here. Anyway, this guy was no where near as highly rated a center as Alex Mack or Pouncey. He just happens to be the top center in a horrible center class in a fairly horrible overall class of all positions.

  21. Tim says:

    On point #3, “is this a safe pick?”, I’d say yes, based on historical results:

    Since 1990, there has not been a single center drafted in the first round who ended up being even a below-average player, much less a bust.

    This includes Jeff Faine from your list, who is at the end of his career now but was a Pro Bowler in 2006-2007.

    1. Jeff Faine was a bad pick. No debate there. He played for the Browns for 3 years and was gone. Got into the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2007. I don’t know the circumstances behind his inclusion there, but he was gone from the Saints the next year.

      Centers and the Pro Bowl are tricky. Shaun O’Hara made the Pro Bowl one year he only played 6 games (and was awful in them). Jeff Saturday made the Pro Bowl last year, and he was benched during the season. If you have a big enough name, and Faine went to Notre Dame, sometimes that’s all you need.

      Chris Spencer is another player that went in the 1st round who was a bad pick.

      But regardless of that side debate, the point missed here is that the centers who were drafted in the 1st round the last decade or so should have been drafted in the round, because they were dominant players. Frederick, not so much.

      1. Tim says:

        Tough to say that every center taken since 1990 “should” have been drafted where he was. My point is that historically, center IS a safe pick high in the draft, which was the question you asked in point #3 in your post. Criticism beyond that gets into whether or not Frederick is a good player, not whether or not a first round pick is appropriate to use on a center in general.

        1. Well… Chase does a great job, but I disagree with his findings that there weren’t any bad first round picks on centers. That’s just wrong.

    2. Benj says:

      Any defense that uses “Pro-Bowl” describing a center instantly loses credibility.

      Because, you know, the fans are so plugged into evaluating center play.

  22. DerfDiggy says:

    Well you’re using history and a draft chart as a indicator. History didn’t exactly repeat itself last night as far as the first round. Frederick was a 2nd (maybe 3rd) round player on a lot of analysts boards…he was drafted 2 spots outside of the 2nd…in a draft that saw a historical run on OL. He was the last of 5 O linemen left with a 1st or 2nd round grade. I don’t see it as a significant reach, nor do I see it as some huge value loss either.

    It’s just funny to see so many people value their own opinions so highly…”You could’ve gotten him in the 3rd round”. As if this was such a certainty.

    Again…People believe they’re smarter than they actually are. Jimmy included. Time will tell. I could be wrong, Floyd could be a grand player, and Fredericks could’ve been had in the third with the Boys 2nd pick in some alternate universe.

    We’ll never know…but I’m not going to sit up here and lambast a pick based on my limited knowledge of an outdated chart and a couple dozen draft gurus. The boys have been pretty darn good drafting the last few years..I hope that’s a trend that’s continues here.

    1. deg0ey says:

      You’re right that Floyd could turn out to be a great player, but I think it says something that he was drafted 20 spots lower than expected and a bunch of teams with a glaring need at DT let him go.

    2. I don’t claim to be smart. I can be dumb as hell. But I can pop on a game and know that this guy just isn’t an awesome player… unless you want to sell me that he is based on your own viewing of him.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        That reply was supposed to go to Phillyrick down at the bottom…weird.

  23. Benj says:

    This blatant overreaction to criticism of any Cowboys pick is hilarious. Have the Cowboys fans ever stopped and thought that maybe there’s a reason that the team has failed to be effective since Bill Parcels stopped drafting for them? The only reason the Cowboys have hobbled along with 8 wins seasons is the elite talent that was drafted a long time ago.

    Bitch and moan all you want at Jimmy, call him names, but deep down there is no way in hell any Cowboy fan could feel satisfied with this pick. Yes, you can justify it, and yes, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been. But you KNOW that you effed up the trade, and you KNOW there were better value players on the board that you could pick. There were going to be other centers that could do just as good a job as Frederick after the first round. Could have at least gotten good value for the first, then used lower tier picks to trade up in the second to get him.

    Mind-blowing that Dallas fans got so worked up about this criticism. Anyone but Dallas fans would find it legit.

    1. aoa says:

      As a huge Boys fan, I promised I wouldn’t get mad as long as it was a lineman on either side. But mannnn the value was bad. I understand it was a reach, but I also understand why they wouldn’t want an undersized free safety or guys with injury history. And for the guy above me crowing about “Parcells picks”…he’s the same guy that took Jake Long over Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, and the same guy that banged the table for Bobby Carpenter and Marcus Spears.

    2. Bob says:

      Just because you repeatedly assert it doesn’t make it so. Come here with an actual argument, rather than “it’s so obvious to all of us who so desperately want to hate the Cowboys” and maybe you might get taken seriously.

      1. Benj says:

        Perhaps tell that to your fellow Cowboy brethren?

        I don’t need to make an argument, because its already been made all over the internet…less than 12 hours after the pick. If you want me to copy and paste some analysis, or re-link Jimmy’s entire article, I can do that if it helps you.

        Its not my job to prove that your low 2nd round-3rd round grade center picked in the first and the embarrassing trade was terrible value. 4 months of intense scouting and the haul the Pats got for their pick got has already proven that. Why don’t you defend your pick with something other than “Highest Rated Center”, and maybe we can take your arguments seriously.

        My only point was to attempt to silence the Cowboys fans coming on here and saying some pretty hateful things to some honest analysis. Everybody and their mother knows it was bad, so pointing out the obvious doesn’t help anyone. Why don’t you tell me why it wasn’t bad, and why you’re satisfied with it?

        1. poolboy87 says:

          OK, this is what’s bull shit. You sit there and cherry pick rankings and say “he was a low 2nd round-3rd round center”…which he was…for SOME analysts. Gil Brandt had him mocked to the Packers at 26 at one point. Gary Horton had him as the best center and, surprise surprise, 31st player overall. Scott Wright also had him as the best center and said he thought it was 50/50 that he would last until the Cowboys second round pick, but that he would be a very good fit for them. After Mayock flipped out about it last night, Charley Casserly came on and said that he had him as a second rounder, but didn’t think it was much of a reach at the 31st overall pick.

          Honestly, I have no idea if any of those guys will be correct, in any way, shape, or form. I have no clue if he really is going to be a marginal player, or if he can be a really good player for the Cowboys. But, I know that a lot of the overreaction to the pick is ridiculous. I know that I’ve seen just as many mocks and rankings that listed Justin Pugh as a 2nd or 3rd rounder, but is anybody (Jimmy included) destroying the Giants for that pick? Nuuuuuuuuuupe. Where’s the mockery for that one? I’ve even seen him rated below guys like Menelik Watson and Terron Armstead, so why aren’t the Giants getting murdered for their selection, and that was in the middle of the freaking first round, not at pick 31.

          And you really want to sit there and say that the Cowboys haven’t added talent since Bill Parcells? I’m sorry, I must not have seen him when they were picking Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Sean Lissemore, (could include Josh Brent, who was a solid player) Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray, Dwayne Harris, etc. So if you want to pretend that this pick is so much worse than the Pugh pick, which Jimmy simply said he didn’t know enough about to reasonably asses (despite saying that he got his burned a few times at the senior bowl) then go ahead. And if you want to pretend that it’s because the Cowboys have drafted considerably worse than the Giants over the last couple of years (I would say if that’s the case, you haven’t looked at the last 3 drafts, which I wouldn’t say are miles apart in ANY way shape or form) then fine. But don’t sit there and pretend that it’s so utterly ridiculous and moronic to have a differing opinion.

          To me, you’re simply a smart-ass that’s spinning this pick as negatively as you can, picking out all of the bad analysis that you can find, and ignoring what happened last night. You’ve simply ducked anybody who’s made a reasonable argument (look at your response to Derf_Diggy below…as though he didn’t make a reasonable or logical assessment of the pick). You want to sit there and pretend that the Cowboys would’ve undoubtedly had a plethora of OL available in the second worthy of that pick, fine. Go ahead and ignore that we just saw a historic night in terms of drafting OL. Go ahead and ignore that we just saw 5 of the top 10 picks go to OL, 8 of the top 20, 2 top 10 guards, and nearly 1/3 of the draft devoted to OL. I’m tooooooooooootally sure that there’s no way that OL could possibly go early tonight. Nope, nobody has any interest whatsoever in addressing OL.

          Do I think this is a sexy pick? No. I was surprised by it, based on my “knowledge” I wanted Warford or Watson. But I’m not going to flip out, because there WERE people that didn’t think it was a bad pick who know what they’re talking about. I would’ve liked for them to get more for their first round pick, but that’s entirely dependent on ANYBODY being willing to offer more for the pick, period. If it’s between addressing OL with who was left at 18, or addressing OL at 31 with an extra top 100 pick, I know which one I absolutely prefer.

          But have a good day pretending that the supreme levels of criticism of this pick is fair or reasonable.

          1. yehti says:


  24. CrackSammich says:

    I’m sure he’ll be at worst an effective pro football player, I won’t knock any Cowboys for that. It was just a bad value pick. I’m sitting on the outside looking in, but it seems to me they could have taken Elam (or whoever) at 31 and then used that extra 3rd they got to move up from their second rounder to take Frederick if they felt he was going to be off the board. It’s likely they wouldn’t even have to, though. At least Cowboys fans can’t hold Watkins over our heads anymore.

    1. Tim says:

      Agree, I think the safer argument here is the value of the pick, not the safety or quality of it. I thought that’s where Jimmy was going with the “use of resources” thing, but then his post focused on combine measurables, the player’s game tape, and whether or not this was a “safe” pick. I think the better question is– “Would this player have been available at #47 (probably), allowing you to take someone else with your #31 pick?”

  25. Mandmeisterx says:

    The bottom 5 analysis, is lousy, at best. All three of the highly picked guys on that list have been quality players, that are now long in the tooth. Somehow using that as a reason to validate this being a lousy pick is a far bigger reach than the pick itself. I usually appreciate your analysis, Jimmy, but this is weak.

    1. Whoa, hang on now. Those names are recognizable because they were high picks, but they were never great players:

      • For one, Satele is 28. Not old.

      • Faine has bounced around from team to team his entire career, and only lasted 3 years with the team that drafted him.

      • Meester was a decent pro and loooong time Jaguar, but never anything special.

      That argument is perfectly valid.

      1. Tim says:

        No center drafted in the first round since 1990 has been even a below-average player, much less a bust, according to Football Perspective’s AV ratings. This includes Faine, who made a Pro Bowl in 2006.

      2. Mandmeisterx says:

        I’m saying they’ve been quality players. Not superstars. If Frederick has a career in line with Meester, I’ll be quite happy. Obviously, there was something they (and several other teams) didn’t like about Floyd. Outside of Sly Williams, I’m not sure there was an impact player at a need position at 18. Maybe Reid, but I felt like improving both lines was their biggest priority heading into this draft. I think the way the draft played out, there might not have been a quality G at 47. At the end of the day, it’s about trusting your board, which they did. I’m not overly thrilled about the pick, but it is what it is.

      3. Mandmeisterx says:

        Also, sorry for the overly harsh tone.

  26. Dan in Philly says:

    Don’t forget that at one time, Al Davis was considered an NFL genius. Are we seeing the slow evolution of Jerry Jones from the young Al Davis to the old Al Davis?

    1. deg0ey says:

      Is this like the different ages of Elvis?

    2. outsyderz34 says:

      At least Al Davis had some good picks in his tenure up until late in his career. Jerry has never proven a single thing since Jimmy Johnson left.

  27. David_Does_Dallas says:

    Only time will tell if you are right.

  28. DerfDiggy says:

    I’ll repost this here….

    Frederick received a 78.7 from as a grade. Much higher than Pugh and Long whom were taken at 19 and 20. The grade is also within 1.5 of Sly, Elam, and pretty much every other pick between 18 and 31. Given that Mayock’s opinion is factored in that means the rest of the analysts must have given Frederick an extremely high grade.

    Gil Brandt, former Vice President of Personnel and chief scout, had Frederick mocked to 24 and 26 during the process. So this “all esteemed experts” hate Frederick is absolute bunk.

    Was Frederick a reach based on pre-draft rankings? Absolutely. I think the majority of the league had him as an early to mid 2nd rounder. The same region as Justin Pugh and Kyle Long. Do pre-draft rankings mean a whole lot when you highly scout, workout, and interview five prospects whom pre-draft were rated between the first and second round? Nope. Obviously.

    Dallas pre-draft had the 5 national invite prospects between their 18 and 47 picks with Cooper, Warmack, Pugh, Long, and our pick Frederick. They went in that exact order despite draftnik ratings for Pugh, Long, and Frederick putting them solidly in the second round.

    Now all of that aside. As I mentioned before it is a reach but Dallas could NOT miss out on a top tier interior talent given the state of our line. We couldn’t add a prospect like David Arkin and allow Tony to take pressure up the middle again this year. We took the 22nd rated player on our board (highest available) at the 31st draft slot and we picked up a 3rd rounder to boot. Traditional board has us losing on the trade and I fully agree although the Football Perspective Draft Value Chart has us gaining slightly so we are at least close to the ballpark.

    Soo…I respectfully disagree with your assessment..I think there is a tangible and very real upgrade from Costa, and if you want to just take the “resources” or draft spot angle…you can argue and fight on that…In my opinion I believe the Boys sought to go heavy in the trenches, targeted a few those players fall off the board, and one of the last remaining while adding a pick. I think it’s a long term solution to a long standing problem…and any argument against that is just short sighted.

    1. PHILLYRICK says:

      I think Jimmy’s main argument though is more than just an angle – it’s basically saying that yes, there was a tangible and real upgrade, and yes, it was (or might have been) a long-term solution made according to the worst-case scenario contingency on the Boys’ draft plan, but both of these things could likely have been accomplished in a later round, with the team still landing an impact player at 18. And that the likelihood of this being true is far greater than the likelihood of there being no serviceable OL left at round 2 and beyond. Thus, misuse of resources, in a panicked attempt to fill a need.

      1. Benj says:

        How dare you use logic. This is no place for a reasoned argument, only overreaction to an obviously biased writer who hates all things Cowboys.

        1. Bob says:

          Well done. You used sarcasm to put down a well reasoned and reasonable post respectfully disagreeing with someone.

          1. Benj says:

            Now you’re just trolling.

          2. Benj says:

            And its fairly obvious that I was using sarcasm as a means of praising “a well reasoned and reasonable post respectfully disagreeing with someone.”

            But you’ve already made up your mind because I said some bad things about your team/fans.

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