During the course of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, multiple picks drew moans and groans from fans and left the panels for ESPN and the NFL Network scratching their heads. One of those picks that had questions was the Dallas Cowboys selection of center Travis Frederick with the 31st pick in the first round. Part of the reason for the wonder is that center is not a high profile position and typically not valued that highly either.
But the Cowboys made a bold choice. They understood that offensive line was far and away their greatest weakness in 2012, and it had to be addressed. They also understood that while center isn’t a sexy first round choice, they must consider value at the pick as well. The Cowboys had already traded down, and the premier offensive tackles and offensive guards were gone. So they looked at their board and decided to take the best offensive lineman left for them, and it was Frederick.
Training camp for Frederick is going to be very interesting. The starting center job is his, and there’s little debate in that. Center Phil Costa is an adequate backup, but without a doubt Frederick was drafted to start, and start early. What Frederick needs to do is fairly simple. He’s got to learn the offense and get his calls in order. He’s the quarterback of that offensive line and will be expected to make all the calls and protections. Frederick did this in college and did so at an elite level, and it shouldn’t be a problem for him to get up to speed with this as well.
His second job is to block. I know that sounds simple, but Frederick might be the second most talented offensive lineman on this team. The offensive guards on this team are not terribly talented so it’s going to fall on Frederick to anchor the middle of the offensive line, help on double teams against 4-3 fronts, handle massive 3-4 nose tackles with little help, and power what the Cowboys are hoping will be a more balanced run/pass ratio on offense. Frederick’s strength is run blocking, and this all points to this team using his gifts to power that run game.