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Dallas Cowboys Address Offensive Line by Drafting Travis Frederick with 31st Pick of NFL Draft

After Trading Down from No. 18, Cowboys Draft Wisconsin Center in First Round

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COMMENTARY | Raise your hand if you thought the Dallas Cowboys were going to get the steal of the NFL Draft at No. 18.

I'm raising both hands.

With Florida defensive tackle Shariff Floyd sliding much further than expected, the Cowboys were sitting on the clock with a great chance to snag a really good player on the defensive line.

I wrote an article the other day that the Cowboys should only trade down if it were necessary. Trading down this pick was not necessary.

Dallas made a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to land the 31st pick and a third-round pick. The 49ers took LSU safety Eric Reid with the 18th pick, whom I had going to Dallas in the second round.

Floyd was taken a few picks later at No. 23 to the Minnesota Vikings, and with North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams taken by the Denver Broncos at No. 28, it was one kick in the stomach for every pick.

At No. 31, Dallas did address a need ... just not the need that was expected an hour and a half earlier..

The Cowboys selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick with the 31st pick in the NFL Draft, doing what they technically were supposed to accomplish - drafting an interior offensive lineman.

So what do we know about this guy?

Having been the only Big Ten player drafted in the first round, Frederick started all 13 games for the Badgers last season at center, making holes for running backs Montee Ball and James White.

The 6-foot-4, 312-pound All-Big Ten first-team selection from last season possesses a great deal of strength from the snap and is a quality run blocker.

Frederick's pass blocking ability, however, might be the biggest question mark. He lacks quick footwork and has a tough time matching up against agile nose tackles.

Mike Mayock had a third-round grade labeled on Frederick, and it could be due to his lack of athleticism compared to the likes of the other offensive line taken in the first round.

All in all, this does address a glaring need for the Cowboys. Is it who they wanted? Or who they could've drafted? Not at all. Despite that, Frederick can play either guard or center and could be an instant starter once he gets to camp.

Dallas gets a smart player who was an Academic All-Big Ten selection, and will officially graduate with a degree in computer engineering.

So there's that. It's an underwhelming pick, but it'll do.

This pick will be questionable for a good amount of time until proven otherwise, while still considering Dallas could've had Floyd to put on the interior defensive line.

Nevertheless, this trade with San Francisco gives the Cowboys two third-round picks within six picks of each other (No. 74 and No. 80) and should more than likely address defense with one of those picks.

As for the pick, it does what needed to be done. We'll know more by training camp.


Danny Webster is a featured columnist for the Dallas Cowboys. You can reach him by going on Twitter and finding @DannyWebster21.

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