The proper evaluation of this draft will take at least a few years, but let's just say that the Cowboys were the topic of discussion for all of the wrong reasons.
Evaluating talent is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but what has Jerry Jones' track record really proven that would allow the fans to completely trust him? Although there has been some significant improvement in recent years, that 2009 class still haunts this team on many levels to this day.
Beyond the selection of Frederick, the Cowboys did put together some nice picks in the mid-to-late rounds, and there could be some future building blocks in Terrence Williams and Joseph Randle. But for a franchise cemented in virtual mediocrity (128-128 over 16 years).
The key is to stretch the boundaries of value.
But what is true value? Taking the player on your board? Taking what the experts call true value or appeasing the fans?
The answer lies in the evaluation process. If the Cowboys think Frederick was the No. 22-rated player, then taking him at 31 is true value. Don't forget that Sean Lee was rated 16th on their board and I'd say he turned out fine.
The Cowboys could have a few regrets when they reflect back on this draft, but so could teams in 31 other cities. It might be pointless to gaze back into the crystal ball using hindsight, but we're going to do it anyway and find those players the Cowboys will regret passing on.
Let's take a look.
Yeah, might as well state the obvious, and for obvious reasons.
The bottom line here is that the Cowboys could have had a player that numerous teams had ranked as a top-10 or even as a top-five pick, but the argument here is that the Cowboys weren't the only team to pass on Floyd.
While that might be true, the fact that the Cowboys passed on him takes on a whole different set of rules. Remember Randy Moss in 1998? Again, maybe the Cowboys felt that Floyd was better-suited to the 3-4. He didn't really possess true 3-technique qualities and he only had five sacks in college, but this was still a great player and great value at 18.
I think this becomes more magnified because the defensive line was completely ignored altogether and depth is an issue. Jay Ratliff hasn't been the same player for two seasons, Josh Brent is in a world of trouble and a lot of players are in transition as they switch positions.
The Cowboys' passing on Floyd will take time to evaluate, but I'm sure many will be watching, and for good reason.
Kenny Vaccaro was widely considered the best safety prospect in the 2013 draft with the Saints being the beneficiary of his services.
Had Vaccaro been available at No. 18, I believe the Cowboys would've drafted him rather than trading down.
Eric Reid wasn't in the plans for the Cowboys, but what about Jonathan Cyprien?
He was a pre-draft visitor and someone they had targeted, but the fear of losing out on Frederick was great enough to pass on what many consider to be a very polished prospect at safety.
Cyprien has a tremendous skill set with coverage ability. He's also a sure-handed tackler and he supports the run.
The Cowboys elected to go with J.J. Wilcox later on, but he did only play one season at safety. His inexperience may be a concern, but you can't look at it as "at least they took a safety."
Why not take a more polished Cyprien at No. 31 when you had two more cracks at Barrett Jones, Dallas Thomas or Brian Schwenke instead of taking Frederick? Hindsight is hindsight but Cyprien is a plug-and-play safety who is ready to contribute immediately.
As I watched the draft with other NFL diehards, more than a few people in the room—myself included—brought up Arthur Brown for the strong-side linebacker position.
Sure enough, he went to the Ravens and, not surprisingly, it was another Ozzie Newsome talent grab.
There is a lot to like about Brown's game. For the Cowboys, that meant passing on a great talent who could play outside, inside, rush the passer and pursue the ball-carrier. The biggest point with Brown was that this was better value in the second round than Jerry Jones' fascination with second-round tight ends.
Linebacker is still an area where depth is a concern, and DeVonte Holloman may not be the answer, but the Cowboys went the UDFA route with Brandon Magee, so that might give you an indication of how they want to allocate their resources.
I know that Jerry Jones would like to replicate the success of the Patriots and how they utilize their tight ends, but wasn't a blocking tight end really the need for the Cowboys in the draft?
The Cowboys could have utilized their second-round pick in a number of areas, but elected to pass on Dion Sims, who instead ended up with the Dolphins with their second pick in the fourth round.
Sims could have been that combination of blocking and receiving tight end that the Cowboys needed. I do like Gavin Escobar and he brings a lot of ball skills, but he needs to improve his blocking and the Cowboys already have a pass-catching target in James Hanna.
It seems like the Escobar selection is more of an overlap than the addressing of a need. Sims would have been a more suitable target with a well-rounded game.
Terron Armstead could have been a solution to the tackle position in the second round. His selection would have provided immediate clarity to the Doug Free situation in Dallas.
The Cowboys could've potentially set up a Cyprien-Armstead first- and second-round combination to set the table for two third-round picks.
Armstead, a small-school tackle, began his rise at the postseason college events and it became evident that his game had huge upside at a premium position. Again, the Cowboys had their vision on improving the offense, going with more 12 personnel and trying to deviate from the same old offense.
However, by passing on Armstead, the Cowboys missed out on a chance to solidify bookends in the offensive line for perhaps the next decade. Jermey Parnell could still be the swing tackle and maybe the addition of Eric Winston could've hedged against selecting an interior lineman in, say, Rounds 3 through 5.
The Cowboys really had a lot of options in the second round. Now, a lot rests on the shoulders of Gavin Escobar on many levels to justify the pick. In the meantime, Armstead could have provided the Cowboys with a lot of clarity at a critical position.