Star Evaluation: Frederick Set Up To Anchor O-Line For Years To Come

The roster turnover is already underway. Free agency has now begun and the 2017 NFL Draft isn't far away. Over the next few weeks, the Cowboys will lose and replace a sizable portion of their roster.

For every new face, however, there are dozens of familiar ones who will return to begin a new campaign. From established veterans to second-year players, the vast majority of the Cowboys' 2017 team is already on the roster. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.

Today we'll continue the series with center Travis Frederick.

What's Been Good: Criticism rained down on the Cowboys the moment they drafted Frederick No. 31 overall back in 2013. Plenty of people thought he was a reach in the first round. There were even people who said he was a Day 3 pick.

 Frederick heard the criticism, and he has used it to fuel one of the best careers in his entire draft class. The Cowboys plugged the Wisconsin native in as the starting center on Day 1, and he has lived up to that promise at every turn. Since he took the field for the Cowboys, he has yet to miss a start – and he has been effective in all of them.

The 2016 season saw him named to the Pro Bowl for the third time in four seasons, as he is widely recognized as the anchor of the Cowboys' dominant offensive line and one of the best centers in the league. He was also named first-team All-Pro for his efforts, to go along with a pair of second-team All-Pro designations in 2014 and 2015.

What's Been Bad: As is usually the case with an All-Pro, these are nitpicks. But it is fair to say that Frederick saw an uptick in penalties from 2015. During the 2015 campaign, Frederick was flagged a mere two times for 15 yards.

 That number jumped up to five in 2016, and some of those were significant. Frederick was flagged for holding on a 63-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott in the Week 8 win against Philadelphia. The Cowboys eventually scored anyway, so it was a negligible problem.

2016 Highlight: It's hard to single out a center for one phenomenal play. Frederick played all 1,060 offensive snaps last season and was phenomenal for the vast majority of them. If we're looking for a real highlight, how about the fact that the Cowboys secured his services for the foreseeable future back in August? Frederick signed a six-year, $56 million contract last summer, making him the highest-paid center in football at the time and keeping him in Dallas through the 2023 season.

What's Next: As mentioned above, Frederick isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future. He just turned 26, and he'll be 33 by the time he has to worry about a new contract. People love to throw around the phrase "Cowboy for Life," but it certainly seems like Frederick will have a chance to play his entire career in Dallas. Frederick is the second Dallas offensive lineman to sign a huge extension, behind Tyron Smith. The organization is working on an extension for Zack Martin, as they hope to keep all three All-Pros in the fold for the foreseeable future. It looks likely that Frederick will be anchoring a talented offensive line for quite some time.

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