- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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Since 2010 the Dallas Cowboys have done a better job of finding talent. As a core of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer and Doug Free inch closer to the end of their careers, the Cowboys need a group of young players heading into their primes to take ownership of the team. Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer analyze those players from the class of 2010 on.
There was some concern regarding rookie center Travis Frederick's selection in the first round. Should the Cowboys have drafted a defensive lineman instead? Should the Cowboys have picked up more in the trade with the San Francisco 49ers?
Regardless of what you thought about the trade, the Cowboys got a quality player in Frederick.
He allowed just 3.5 sacks and was penalized three times for 20 yards in 2013. With the Cowboys looking to solidify the middle of the offensive line, Frederick, along with Ronald Leary (left guard) and Mackenzy Bernadeau (right guard), allowed quarterback Tony Romo to move up in the pocket with confidence and pushed the run game along as running back DeMarco Murray rushed for over 1,000 yards and earned a Pro Bowl berth.
Frederick's ability to make the line calls proved the Cowboys had a smart and physical presence in the interior of the line. He's somebody the team can rely on for possibly years to come.
Now we're not putting Frederick in the Pro Bowl or anything like that; he was pushed around some by pass-rushers. Very few offensive linemen have perfect games, but the rookie held his own.
Getting to the second level with a one-cut run scheme is important because once a running back makes his move he has to have blockers taking on linebackers and getting a good push to advance the run game.
This was something Frederick did on a consistent basis in 2013 and the Cowboys are hoping it continues in 2014.