What the Heck Were the Dallas Cowboys Thinking Drafting Travis Frederick?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 26, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 17: Travis Frederick #72 of the Wisconsin Badgers awaits the start of play against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Soldier Field on September 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Wisconsin defeated Northern Illinois 49-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I can't keep from wondering whether Dallas Cowboys fans are going to remember the first round of the 2013 NFL draft for all the wrong reasons. 

Travis Frederick could wind up becoming a solid NFL center, but indications are he's far from being a can't-miss prospect. Why draft a center in the first round if they don't meet that criteria?

Why do it when you could have had Sharrif Floyd, who has a hell of an upside and would have been a glove-like fit in Dallas' revamped 4-3 defense? 

Why do it if you could have had Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien, both of whom could have become immediate starters next to Barry Church at safety? The Cowboys have a much bigger hole at the safety position than they do at center, and Elam and Cyprien had first-round grades in a lot of people's minds. Either would have been perfect at pick No. 31, and the 'Boys would have looked smart for dealing down and picking up an extra mid-round pick in the process.

Frederick, meanwhile, had a third-round grade from NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. He received a fourth-round grade from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, barely cracking his big board in the 100th spot. 

I know, Phil Costa isn't reliable. He struggled in 2011 and missed all but three games in 2012 due to injury. But I'm surprised Jerry Jones and Co. were prepared to give up on Costa this quickly. When he was on the field last season, he was solid. The three-year veteran out of Maryland gave up only one hurry and zero sacks on 126 snaps, and he had the best game of his career against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.

And if they aren't completely done with Costa, then this pick makes even less sense. 

That Frederick can play guard is nice, but it's not enough to make this pick worthwhile. The circumstances didn't merit such a reach, period. 

I find it hard to believe Dallas felt this guy was the best player available, and there's no way center was the biggest position of need on the roster. Now I wonder how long it'll take before this becomes yet another one of the Cowboys' infamously bad early-round picks.