Draft Scout Darren Boyd
Entry #1 Centers
Well Cowboys fans, the season has ended with another 8-8 record and no playoffs. In order to emerge from the Land of Mediocrity, the Cowboys need to do something they really haven’t done well in a number of years: DRAFT WELL!!! With some pretty significant salary cap hindrances (though Jerry and Stephen are pretty adept at manipulation), the majority of the Cowboys needs will need to be filled in late April with young college talent. And at the top of that list is the offensive line! Starting with the Center position, let’s examine some of the players that might soon be wearing a blue star on their helmet (with any luck)!
1. Barret Jones 6'4 305 Alabama - One word: Versatile!!! The man has started and excelled at Center, Guard and Tackle in his decorated college career. He is very fundamentally sound and tough. He even played with a foot injury in the BCS title game that will require surgery. But don't let that worry you. This injury is not a Sean Lee or Bruce Carter type where the basically had to red shirt their rookie years. After an 8-12 week recovery, he should be able to come in and start right away on just about any team. Making all the line calls on the National Championship team, his acclamation to the pros should be seamless. While he is not an elite athlete he is worthy of a top 20 pick and would anchor an O-line for years to come. In fact depending on what position teams put him on their Draft Boards, he might be a top 15 pick.
2. Khaled Holmes 6'3 305 USC - Started his career as a right guard. He moved to Center this season. He is another versatile option for the Cowboys in Round 2. He is best suited as a center in the NFL due to his size. He is technically sound but on film does appear to have trouble pulling at times. Has a good anchor but not a road-grader. He does not have any injury issues. Fun fact not scouting related, he is the brother-in-law of Steelers SS Troy Polamalu.
3. Travis Frederick 6'4 338 Wisconsin - He is an early entry Junior. A large road grading type of player. Started as a left guard but moved inside to become a dominate center in the Big 10. Played all 13 games this season. No major Injury history. He could go in the 55-60 pick range, which is Round 2, like his predecessor Peter Konz went in 2012 draft. Konz was a player who the Cowboys could have taken last year except for the trade up to get Claiborne instead.
These are the top 3 Center prospects for me and should draw a lot of interest in the first 2 Rounds of the draft. There are a few prospects in the middle rounds to keep an eye on such as Braxton Cave from Notre Dame, Mario Benavides from Louisville and Dalton Freeman from Clemson. The knock on those kids is that they are smaller Centers and may not fit the Cowboy profile.
Guards and then Tackles to follow in subsequent posts. The Cowboys must upgrade the talent on the right side of their offensive line for next season, and I think that will require at least 2 additions, whether by draft on free agency, if not more depending on the fate of OT Doug Free and OG Mackenzy Bernadeau.