*Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features center Travis Frederick.*
Name: Travis Frederick
Height/Weight: 6-3 / 311
Experience: 1 season
Key stat:Frederick is the first rookie center in franchise history to start all 16 games. He's also the first Cowboys rookie to start a season opener at center since Andre Gurode in 2002.
Contract Status:Signed through 2018
2013 Impact: There were plenty of questions of where he was taken in the draft and if he was a reach at the time. I was not as high on the selection to be honest but the front office followed their board, made the selection and he was a day one starter with outstanding results. What he brought to this offensive line was smarts, toughness and an ability to handle the responsibilities of the pivot point along the offensive line. Though he wasn't always perfect and he did have his struggles early in the season against Poe in Kansas City, he bounced back nicely against the other 3-4 nose men that he faced during the season. He played with a better understand of how he needed to use his leverage to match their power. What was the most surprising about his season to me, was how well he played on his feet. There were days at Wisconsin where this wasn't always the case. He would have trouble with his sustain on the reach block and would not put himself in good enough position to handle those types of assignments. But his work in this scheme was on point and his ability to work with Ronald Leary, Brian Waters and Mackenzy Bernadeau were a large part why the line had the success that they did moving the ball on the ground. Another area I thought he improved over what I had seen from his days at Wisconsin, was his awareness to help across the pocket. There are times where rookie linemen get anxious and over commit to what is happening around them. Frederick played with a calm demeanor and once again put himself in the best positions to handle those times when he was uncovered in the middle of the pocket and that is an area that this group had struggled with until he was drafted and placed in the lineup.
Where He Fits:The hope for the front office is that Frederick will continue to grow and develop. He will be looked at once again to be that stable force in the middle of the line. Where he will need to make some improvements is in his area of upper body strength as well as his lower body power. This off season will be good for him because he can concentrate on that development because there were some plays where he was taken to task but managed to fight his way through it. He is a nice piece for an offensive line that had their share of issues in 2012 but he surely brings a great deal to the table.
Writers' Analysis: [embedded_ad]
Rowan Kavner:The Cowboys were largely criticized for their trade back in the first round and subsequent selection of Travis Frederick. The rookie center didn't fail to exceed expectations and played like a stud first-round pick, becoming the first Cowboys center to start all 16 games. He didn't just play, though. He stabilized the middle of the Dallas offensive line, helping turn a weakness into a strength. The Cowboys have a lot of needs in this upcoming draft, but they can feel somewhat comfortable going into 2014 even if they don't provide help on the line, and a lot of that has to do with their young talent in Tyron Smith and Frederick. The rookie center earned a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team. Not only did Frederick play every game – he played every offensive snap. His durability can't be undervalued on a team with plenty of injury issues, and Frederick looks to have been a much more solid pick than anyone predicted.