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Mailbag: Why Go Center With The First Pick In A Deep Draft?
NEW ORLEANS, LA
If this draft is so deep, why get a center so early? I understand trading down again may not have been an option, but why not take a shot at a playmaker to pair with Dez Bryant, like Robert Woods?
David: Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett said themselves that upgrading the interior of the offensive line was their priority in the first round. Based on their draft rankings, they didn’t see a defensive tackle or wide receiver that was worth a first round pick. My guess is that, with the amount of offensive linemen selected in the first round, they were worried their guy wouldn’t be there in the next round. So they reached. Now, whether their logic was correct or not is something we can only speculate on.
Rowan: It was definitely a shock to everyone outside the war room. Their intent was to bolster the interior line, and Frederick can play both center and guard and create competition on the line. He was also the best center on their board. Reaching on a receiver they didn’t really value at the spot would have gone against the strategy of bulking up the interior, plus a lot of those playmakers should be available in the second or third round. But to hear a center’s name called was a surprise, even to the center himself.
They always talk about which positions are hardest to transition from college to pro. What about the center position, will this pick be able to start right away at a high level?
David: Look no further than Frederick’s old Wisconsin teammate, Peter Konz, for your answer. Konz was coveted by Dallas last spring as the top center in the 2012 draft, and he was taken in the second round by Atlanta. He played the role of backup for six weeks before eventually replacing his competition and starting the last 10 games of the season. Konz manned the middle of the line during Atlanta’s run to the NFC Championship Game, as well. So it’s entirely possible to make a quick transition – it just depends on what Frederick shows in training camp. You also have to consider his ability to play guard.
Rowan: It’d take some explaining to answer why a first-round offensive line pick wouldn’t be starting quickly. He should compete at both guard and center, and the Cowboys can figure out his best spot. None of those three interior line spots seem completely sealed or protected. The best center in the draft should be able to get in and compete for a starting job from day one, depending on how he performs and transitions in camp.