Travis Frederick to Cowboys: How Does Center Fit with Dallas?
In a truly stunning turn of events, the Dallas Cowboys traded down to select Wisconsin center Travis Frederick at No. 31 overall in the 2013 NFL draft. Frederick is a player I studied in detail a few months ago, arguing that I'm not sure if he possesses the requisite athleticism to excel in the NFL. Interior offensive linemen don't need to be amazing athletes, but Frederick is particularly below-average.
Here's a comparison, projection, and potential fit I discussed in my scouting report on Frederick:
NFL Comparison: Peter Konz
Frederick is very similar to his former teammate Peter Konz, now a guard for the Atlanta Falcons. They have similar body types, although Konz is more athletic.
Frederick was probably looking at the second round prior to the Combine. That’s still a possibility, but I have a feeling some teams will be scared away by Fredrick’s measurables. Again, it’s not that Frederick can’t succeed in the NFL, but he’s just too risky in the second round.
Fit In Dallas
If the Cowboys are serious about switching to a zone blocking scheme, Frederick might not interest them. He does offer versatility that the team covets, especially since it’s unclear who will play all three interior line positions at this point.
If you asked me prior to the draft where I anticipated Frederick getting drafted, I would have said the third round. Even with some good tape, he's simply so limited athletically that I couldn't imagine he was on anyone's first-round radar.
The primary benefit Frederick offers the Cowboys is versatility. He can potentially play both center and guard, giving the team flexibility with its subpar interior line. I think Nate Livings will stay at left guard, but neither Phil Costa nor Mackenzy Bernadeau are safe at center and right guard, respectively.
I'd tentatively expect Frederick to come in and start at center, replacing Costa. I actually thought Costa was solid last year in limited action, but he played barely more than 100 snaps and was really poor in the prior season.
Meanwhile, Bernadeau struggled horribly in 2012.
In my postseason recap of Bernadeau's play, I gave the guard a D- final grade. The Cowboys averaged only 3.18 yards per carry when running with Bernadeau at the point of attack, and he also allowed a 3.2 percent pressure rate. If the Cowboys consider Frederick a candidate to play anywhere in the interior, they might want to think about replacing Bernadeau over Costa.
In any event, it was a wild first round for the Cowboys. Most fans won't be happy with this selection, including me; I gave it a "D" grade in my initial reaction slideshow.
Nonetheless, we can all take solace in the fact that the 'Boys at least acquired an additional third-round pick. More to come.
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