Draft logic continues to escape Cowboys

Posted Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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galloway April is an awful time in football to be dumb.

April has to provide the lifeblood for the future, and the future is always now.

After the first round of the NFL Draft went down on Thursday night, the next morning local and national reviews sliced and diced the football Einsteins at Valley Ranch.

I totally agreed with the slicing and dicing.

But then came Day 2 of the draft on Friday. Three new names were added to the Valley Ranch roll call in the critical second and third rounds. When the evening’s festivities were over on Friday, Jerry came out talking feisty and proud to the media.

Obviously, the mushroom cloud of local and national criticism/disgust over what the Dallas Cowboys had done in the first round penetrated even the thick hide of Mr. Jones.

By now, after all the years of criticism/disgust aimed his way, you’d think he was personally bulletproof in this area. Think he didn’t care what the fans or the media had to say.

But Jerry was stung by the howling over the Thursday trade down and then the selection of a center from Wisconsin named Travis Frederick.

Admittedly, I’m in the same limited area of expertise as about 99 percent of the yelping critics, give or take a segment of “mockers” (mock draft gurus who do spend hours in film rooms).

I know as much about Travis Frederick as I do about Frederick’s of Hollywood, although I admit I once thumbed through a Frederick’s catalogue. Just one time, though.

Frederick is a center. The Cowboys desperately need a center. This kid may be the All-Pro answer to that need for the next decade, and hopefully he is.

But the issue for the Cowboys was not necessarily Travis Frederick, in a total surprise, being the first-round selection.

The killer here is the logic. That’s what we all see. The lack of logic.

There was no logic involved in how the Cowboys ended up at the bottom of the first round and then sending a card to the podium in New York City with Frederick’s name on it.

That draft room at Valley Ranch appeared to be a disorganized mess. That draft-room logic at Valley Ranch appeared to violate the No. 1 rule of April.

Be flexible. Be “board strong.” A team spends months and millions putting its draft board together. In the first round, of all rounds, stay with your board.

It was almost impossible for the Cowboys to go wrong, at least position-wise, with any of their picks, particularly the first round. The best player available at almost any offensive or defensive position could have been the right pick at No. 18.

But Jerry and the boys put blinders on. Come hell or 8-and-8, they were determined to come out of the first round with an offensive lineman, even knowing that the premier names in that area could and probably would be gone before No. 18.

And they were gone, of course. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Right down the line, one of the greatest runs ever on O-linemen happened well before the Cowboys were on the clock.

Logic then said go back to the board. Take the best player left on the board. It didn’t matter. Take the best player available, and plenty of premier names, defensive and offensive, were there for the taking.

Instead, the Cowboys ducked out, made a stupid trade with a wise organization, and the 49ers fleeced them, giving up a third-rounder while the Cowboys moved almost halfway down in the first round, ending up at No. 31. Thirteen spots the Cowboys dropped. That’s amazing, that’s amusing. Amazingly and amusingly stupid.

They ended up with Frederick, a player not considered first-round material, and a mere borderline choice for the second round. “I had him a steal,” said one of the NFL Network guys, “a steal in the third round.”

Maybe everybody else is wrong, and the Cowboys are right on Frederick.

But on Friday, with Jerry crowing about the team’s first-round moves coming together with the three new players, it was laughable to hear him scramble.

Logic, man. The Cowboys flunked logic again by what happened on Friday.

Word was out before the draft, with smarter football people than me telling people like me, to watch for the Cowboys going high for a tight end. Not many in the media were on this, but the team was looking for the next Jason Witten. And also looking to implement the same kind of two-tight-end offense that failed previously with the departed Marty B.

Well, OK. While sitting at 18 in the first round, by far the best and most complete tight end in the draft was still available. Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame was considered in a league of his own at this position.

The Cowboys traded out instead. Eifert went No. 21 to Cincinnati.

But Jerry totally blew logic by opening the second round on Friday, taking Gavin Escobar, yes, a tight end from San Diego State. He’s a pass catcher, and graded very low as a blocker.

Simple logic says the Cowboys could have had Eifert at No. 18 and since they liked Frederick, he would certainly have been there in the second round with the 47th choice.

Plus, the team’s third-round pick, which I really liked, was Baylor receiver Terrance Williams, who was chosen with the pick the 49ers had given up in the trade up on Thursday.

Williams, once considered a late first-round talent, was still there at 74 in the third round. The Cowboys owned the 80th pick. Eliminate the trade down on Thursday and Williams might have latest six more spots in the third.

By the way, that 80th pick became a safety, J.J. Wilcox, out of Georgia Southern. But he’s certainly not a polished college safety, having played the position only one year.

Logic says if the Cowboys simply stick with their draft board, they would have had Eifert, Frederick and Williams in the first three rounds. Applause would have been heard.

Instead, Jerry got his feelings hurt, and who knows if he also hurt his team.

At first glance, the Cowboys were dumb. And April is the worst time of year in the NFL to be dumb.

Randy Galloway can be heard on Galloway & Co. weekdays 3-6 p.m. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 rgalloway@star-telegram.com

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