- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- We've got some final thoughts on the NFL draft in our beat writers recap.
*The trade that shocked North Texas was prompted years ago when San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was then the head coach at Stanford. Harbaugh tried to recruit safety Eric Reid out of a Louisiana high school. But Reid's father wanted him to attend LSU which he eventually did. So when it came time for Harbaugh to get Reid again, the trade was set in motion the morning of the draft. What prompted the Cowboys to make the deal occurred when Kenny Vaccaro was taken by New Orleans at No. 15. The Cowboys liked guard Justin Pugh, but had a higher grade on center Travis Frederick. The Cowboys also liked defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, but he wasn't a fit in their 4-3 scheme because they wanted a better pass rusher. Reid was also available for the Cowboys, but Vaccaro had a higher grade. If Vaccaro was available the Cowboys would have taken him at No. 18. Instead, the Cowboys moved down to get a center with a second-round grade.
*The interesting thing about getting Baylor wide receiver Terrence Williams in the third round is how it impacts Dwayne Harris. Currently Harris is the No. 3 receiver and if Williams can emerge during the preseason maybe he gets more playing time. Harris became a reliable player late in the season and took over the No. 3 receiving duties from Kevin Ogletree. The Cowboys want competition at various spots and the receiver position will have that this summer. Cole Beasley, Danny Coale and Williams will put pressure on Harris to maintain his spot.
*Drafting linebacker J.J. Wilcox, cornerback B.W. Webb and outside linebacker DeVonte Holloman gives the Cowboys some prospective special teams candidates. It seems Wilcox is being groomed to become a special teams ace, held by safety Danny McCray, because of his tackling ability in college. Webb is a feisty player who isn't afraid to mix it up on man coverage and Holloman is a physical player as well.
*The Cowboys watched quarterbacks Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson go in the fourth round before selecting Webb. The Cowboys bypassed Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. After the Cowboys selected Webb with the 114th pick of the fourth round, Pittsburgh selected Jones at No. 115. Several teams drafted quarterbacks in the middle rounds, starting with Philadelphia, which moved from No. 101 to No. 98 to get Barkley. Some in the Cowboys organization thought several quarterbacks, including Barkley would go higher in the draft, but there wasn't a belief the Cowboys needed one.
*After rushing for a team-high 897 yards in 2011, then averaging 4.1 yards per carry leading to 663 yards last season, there are concerns about starting running back DeMarco Murray. With good reason. He suffered a fractured ankle in 2011 costing him to miss the final few weeks of the season then he missed six games in 2012 with a sprained foot. The Cowboys were in the market for a running back and drafted Joseph Randle from Oklahoma State in the fifth round. It was noted by Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones that Randle isn't a special teams candidate but a legit No. 2 behind Murray and someone who can take over if he gets hurt again. The Cowboys view Lance Dunbar more of a change of pace back/special teams player than somebody who will can start. Drafting Randle has put Murray on notice he needs to stay healthy if not, his replacement is on the roster.
*Notes: The more you talk to people at Valley Ranch, the more you hear the expectations are high for DT Jay Ratliff now that he's healthy. ... Cowboys still don't have a blocking tight end or cleared up who will call the plays. ... I don't know about you but the Cowboys sure sounded defensive about their trade charts on Saturday. It was funny listening to Jerry Jones say trade charts are fluid. I can accept drafting Frederick, but you just want them to get a second-rounder over a third rounder.