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The Cowboys come off last season not feeling too good about where they ended up. Finishing only 8-8 and 3-3 in the NFC East, this is not where owner Jerry Jones sees his team spending a lot of time. They appear to have done very well in the draft as they look to make the turn around. However, Stephen A. Smith doesn’t have much faith that the Cowboys are ever going to be able to make any kind of real push with the roster they have, and he may have a point. Year after year when you look at the roster of the Cowboys, it’s loaded with talent. Every year we talk about how this will be the time they put it together and make it happen. Every year they fail to live up to expectations, despite having players with names like Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware. Will this year be any different, will they finally say enough is enough and play up to the level they are capable of?
With the 31st overall selection in the draft the Cowboys took Travis Frederick, offensive lineman from Wisconsin. Frederick is a nasty, versatile interior lineman who also has experience at guard. He uses his hands very well and understands leverage. Once he gets in position it is very hard to move him off his base. His pass could use some work, however he is ready to play now. He can already handle a power rush and although he is somewhat limited athletically, he plays with sound fundamental technique. It should also come as no surprise that a Wisconsin offensive lineman who can play multiple positions has great football IQ and rarely loses because of mental mistakes. This pick obviously fills a big need for the Cowboys. Their offensive line was exposed a year ago as not being very good, and not having any depth. The only quality offensive lineman the Cowboys can count on right now is left tackle Tyron Smith. A combination of injuries and inconsistency devastated this group a year ago, which is really disappointing, considering they thought they had fixed their interior problems. Even with the subpar play this unit has produced Romo has been able to throw for record setting numbers. However, one thing we have to keep in mind is Romos ability to scramble, if he had the mobility of Tom Brady, his numbers would be horrible because he’d spend most of his Sundays on the ground. Frederick will have a chance to step in and start at any of the three interior positions.
With the 47th overall pick in the draft the Cowboys selected Gavin Escobar, TE from San Diego State. Escobar's ball skills are strong; he runs very crisp, sharp routes and uses superior technique to get open underneath. He won’t shock anybody with his speed, but he knows how to get open. He is fast enough to work downfield and he will be able to pick up yards after the catch. There's a lot to like about his frame and potential as a blocker, but the problem is that it's just potential at this point. He has to improve at the point of attack. The Cowboys staff has been looking to add more two tight end sets to their offense recently. The NFL has always been a copycat league and other teams have been having success with it. The problem has been their tight ends, other than Witten, weren’t much for catching the ball. Escobar will be able to come in and offer a different look due to his flexibility. Look for Escobar and Witten to continue to run a lot of seam routes, and Escobar should be an excellent matchup receiver. He also provides insurance for Witten, who's still playing at a high level but is entering his 11th pro season. Tony Romo likes to use sight adjustment with his tight ends, which means Escobar needs to be a quick study in this offense to instill confidence.