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Eatman: Jury Still Out But '13 Draft Class Already Impressive


IRVING, Texas - Obviously, the jury is out on how good this football team, or any team in the league, will be in 2013.

We think we know who will be good, bad and average.

For the Cowboys, I think most of us would agree this is a team that will be highly competitive in every game and has a chance to compete for a playoff spot. And if the ball bounces right, which it hasn't in three years, and they stay healthy, which also hasn't happened, they could win the NFC East and possibly do something in the playoffs.

All that being said, I think the Cowboys will be a good team in 2013.

And the fact that all seven draft picks not only made the team, but will likely be active for Sunday's opener with the Giants should speak volumes for the way they drafted this year.

If you remember, it was somewhat of a change in philosophy as the Cowboys listened a little more to the scouts – the guys who have done the homework on these players for over a year – and a little less from the coaches. That's not to say the coaches had no input at all, but the scouts were able to do their job more than they have in the past.

As a result, they picked seven players who are ready to play and contribute.

While you might be saying, 'well, good that's what they should be doing.' History tells us it doesn't happen very often, especially around here.

Just having them all make the team is something in itself.

Since 1994, the first year the NFL went down to just seven rounds, the Cowboys have had just four seasons when all of the drafted players eventually made the roster. Only twice have they all made it coming out of training camp – 2004 and 2000, when they had just five picks.

Assuming Joseph Randle is active this week with Lance Dunbar (foot) still out, the Cowboys are expected to have all seven players suit up for this game – and that would be first in the last 20 years.

One of those seven will touch the ball on every offensive snap and is directly responsible for making the line calls. Travis Frederick was probably one of the more scrutinized picks the Cowboys have had in a while. Many people like to say they could've gotten him in the second round or later.

The fact that he's started right away and keeps looking better with every game is reason enough to think this will be a good pick for the Cowboys. Then again, let's see him in the regular season. Let's seem against a 3-4 team with a nose tackle that outweighs him by 40 pounds. Let's see him when things matter the most.

That's why it's hard to really gauge how any of these guys will do.

I know this: Gavin Escobar, Terrance Williams and J.J. Wilcox will all play on sub-packages on offense and defense. B.W. Webb likely will get defensive snaps, too, and the same could be said for DeVonte Holloman, who made more plays than any player on defense in the preseason. Holloman should be a contributor on special teams, despite the fact they added two special-teams players in Kyle Bosworth and Edgar Jones this week.

Of course, the Cowboys can always make last-minute changes depending on injury.

But as it stands here right now, it looks like these seven drafts picks are not only on this football team, but they'll be wearing the uniform and the blue star come Sunday night.

And based on what we've seen from the 2009 class and how this 2012 class is already looking, with just three of seven players on the 53-man roster, that's not only a good accomplishment, but it was definitely needed.

Now we get to find out if they can really play.

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