The 2013 NFL Draft had its share of surprises; one of the biggest wasn’t the players selected, but rather the ones that weren’t.
When the Dallas Cowboys began the draft it was obvious that they needed to address the interior of the offensive line and that they also needed help along the defensive front, linebacking corps and secondary. They selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick with the 31st pick in the first round, after trading down with the San Francisco 49ers.
Then they drafted tight end Gavin Escobar, wide receiver Terrance Williams, defensive backs J.J. Wilcox and B.W. Webb, running back Joseph Randle, and linebacker DeVonte Holloman. As you can see, they addressed some areas of need, but not others.
To help fill those voids they quickly got on the phone and began calling possible undrafted free agents. If you recall, the Cowboys staff has been pretty good at finding undrafted talent over the years; see: Tony Romo and Miles Austin.
In 2013, they targeted a coveted linebacker in Arizona State’s Brandon MaGee. To ensure that MaGee didn’t go anywhere, the Cowboys offered him a guaranteed $70,000 contract, which is more than any seventh-round pick received in 2012.
“The draft is over and means absolutely nothing,” MaGee said. “You want to know why? Because everyone now has to go to mini camps and everyone has to prove it on the field, and we’ll see what happens there. That’s the way I see it.”
In 2012, the 5-11 223 lbs. linebacker was ASU’s leading tackler and said he felt that the Cowboys would draft him after what he described as a great visit to Valley Ranch.
During the 2012 draft, MaGee’s friend, and former high school and college teammate Vontaze Burfict wasn’t drafted either, but after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals, he proved his worth, earned a starting job and was one of the NFL’s top defensive rookies.
The Cowboys are hopeful that MaGee pans out as Burfict did, and from the sounds of it, MaGee does also.