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April 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Todd Archer

Todd Archer
  (12:58 PM)

I'm ready to talk Cowboys. From the number of questions already in, I can see you guys are ready, too. Here we go ...

Adam (Toronto)

I'm still shaking my head at the overall draft choices made. From all accounts, they reached AT LEAST 1 round too early on Frederick, and even if he pans out and plays well, if they could have got him in round 2, we wasted a pick on what could have been a DL, OG, S etc. Then a pass catching TE in round 2? Don't we have one of those already? One of the best in the NFL? Just don't get it. It always feels like Jerry is trying to outsmart everyone, yet how has that worked out the last 15+ years?

Todd Archer
  (1:02 PM)

Adam feels the way a lot of people feel, so let me try to explain. And by explain, I don't mean I agree with what the Cowboys did, but just offering up their side:First, I don't think Frederick was that much of a reach at No. 31. They viewed seven offensive linemen as walk-in starters and Frederick was the last one left. They didn't want to risk him not being there at No. 47. My quibble Thursday was with what they got in return but that was mitigated some when they got Williams in the third. As for Escobar, if the Cowboys are truly going to be a "12 personnel" team it makes sense, but they can't be a 12 team the way they've been a 12 team in the past. They must adopt the New England strategy.

cee jay (dallas)

Todd, PLEASE explain to me how Dallas did not draft/sign not ONE Defensive Lineman and they are converting to a 4-3?? Hatcher and Spencer are in the last yr of their contracts, Ratliff is no good anymore and your best defensive player (Ware) is moving frm LB to DE yet you draft no DL?? What gives??

Todd Archer
  (1:04 PM)

I wrote about this today on the blog. Clearly Kiffin and Marinelli feel like they're set on the line, but I'm with you. The draft isn't just about 2013 for the reasons you listed above. I would've taken a defensive lineman at some point. Kiffin and Marinelli know more football than we do, but Rob Ryan made similar reads on the talent when he took over and it didn't work either.

Greg (CT)

Why was there such a huge difference between Dallas's grade on Frederick and at least 5 other teams who had him 3rd rd. or worse(per Ed Werder tweet)?

Todd Archer
  (1:04 PM)

Every team sees players differently, that's why. I don't worry so much about that. I had one team say they had him in the second round as well.

Victor (Tampa fl)

I feel great about this draft, why are so many people down on it?

Todd Archer
  (1:06 PM)

The Cowboys have used up their benefits of the doubt with poor drafts and decisions in the past. As Dan Graziano said: had the Cowboys taken Justin Pugh at No. 18 they would have been laughed at. New York takes Pugh at No. 19 and there's no reaction.

Chris (NJ)

The Cowboys had a 3rd round grade on Ronald Leary and supposedly liked he way he looked on the practice squad. Does he have a decent chance to start over Livings or Bernardeau?

Todd Archer
  (1:06 PM)

I don't think it was a third-round grade. I believe it was a fifth. He'll get a chance. Of the two guards, I think Livings is most in trouble of losing a starting spot.

Joe (Overland Park KS)

I'm very frustrated we didn't take another OL. Did the coaching staff or Jerry have more to do with that?

Todd Archer
  (1:08 PM)

I can't honestly answer this question but let me make an assumption and that's all it is Maybe they are a little shy at taking offensive linemen later in the draft because they've been so poor at doing so. It's just a theory, but that does happen to teams.

Steve (San Jose)

Todd!!Is the countdown on for Free's release and signing Winston or Clabo? a 2nd upgrade is now needed to that o-line!! Thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (1:10 PM)

I wouldn't go that far yet. Stephen Jones said he wants Free to return, but clearly it has to be at the team's price. That's part of the negotiation right now. My gut is that Free stays at a lower price. If they don't get a deal done, then I think Clabo is their top choice. He's a better player than Winston.

Darren (Houston TX)

Why werent the cowboys high on Sharrif Floyd, and whom would they have taken if they stayed at 18?

Todd Archer
  (1:11 PM)

They deemed he wasn't a scheme fit for them. And, yes, I realize he went to a 4-3 team in Minnesota. The coaches stepped in here and said no to him. He doesn't bring enough pass rush to play the 3-technique.

Ed (Georgia)

Todd, why does everyone say we need defensive line help ? We have Ware, Spencer, Ratliff, and Hatcher as possible starters. Not to mention quality backups such as Tyrone Crawford and Sean Lissemore who could eventually be starters. Also the added depth of Ben Bass and Robert Callaway so what's all this fuss about defensive line about ?

Todd Archer
  (1:12 PM)

Are you related to Kiffin and Marinelli? I don't doubt Ware and Spencer will be fine. Ratliff's sack totals have decreased every year for the last five years and he's been beaten up. Hatcher has never had more than 4.5 sacks in a season. They don't have dynamic players on the inside, which is what they have told us is a requirement. Clearly they are banking on a huge rebound by Ratliff.

Stephon (Rhode Island)

Which Player is most on the Hot seat after the draft miles or Scandrick?

Todd Archer
  (1:14 PM)

Good question, Steve. I'd probably say Miles just because Jerry said third rounders by definition have to become starters. Williams was a third round pick, so eventually he has to start if he lives up to expectations. That puts Austin's spot in jeopardy. But I will say this: don't count out Austin. He was hurt a good portion of the year and still had almost 1,000 yards and six touchdowns.

Dre (Tx)

Why did the cowboys take terrence williams over keenan allen whom was a btter college receiver?

Todd Archer
  (1:15 PM)

Hmm, I'd just be guessing they didn't see it the same way you did. Williams is faster and made more plays. I have zero knock on the Williams pick. To me the Williams and Randle picks were their best.

thomas (Arlington)

how much input did romo have on the draft?

Todd Archer
  (1:16 PM)

Input is a funny word. I'm not sure he had much. He watched a handful of players on tape for a couple of hours. I'm sure he liked the guys they picked and where they got him, but I don't think he swayed opinions that had been working on this for months.

Nick (Florida)

Was Cordarrelle Patterson an option at 31 if he fell to them?

Todd Archer
  (1:16 PM)

Yes, he was. They were hoping he was there along with Pugh, Reid and Sylvester Williams.

Ian (Atl, GA)

Since the Cowboys didn't draft DL help, are they high on Ben Bass, newly acquired Brian Price (former 2nd round pick), amongst others that will fill out the depth chart, but we aren't very knowledgeable of yet. Any possible FA targets as well?

Todd Archer
  (1:18 PM)

Ian brings up the Brian Price guy and I have to admit I forgot about him. He's an interesting pick up because at one point teams across the league liked him. I can't sit here today and give you a detailed report about the guy, but perhaps he figured in the decision to not take a lineman. Check back on the blog for that one after I ask around. As for FA targets, I believe Okoye and Idonije are still available and they played for Marinelli in Chicago.

Daniel (Texas)

Would the cowboys have taken Kenny Vaccaro if he was there at 18?

Todd Archer
  (1:18 PM)

I believe they would've gone that way, yes. I asked if they had a chance to move up a couple of spots to get him and Stephen Jones said no.

Cy (Sherman)

Saw the FA signings, what do you know, no DT's, anyone from the FA list have a shot of making the team?

Todd Archer
  (1:19 PM)

Sure. Every year they have two or three make the team. I'd give Brandon Magee and Jakar Hamilton the early lead on making the club because they had high draft grades on those players.

Michael (Dallas)

What does the drafting of William do to the stock of Dwayne Harris? Is Williams an instant upgrade over Harris in the 3rd receiver spot?

Todd Archer
  (1:20 PM)

Here's why I think they took Williams: if Austin or Bryant get hurt, he can fill in and be more of an X or Z. I think Harris and the other receivers on the team are more No. 3 receivers, which are still valuable, but not guys capable of moving into full-time roles.

Todd (Dallas)

Yahoo Sports has the headline that the 'Boys got an "F" for overall grade, O Great and Wise Archer, what did you grade the out at?

Todd Archer
  (1:22 PM)

I think an F is a ridiculous grade for any team that's drafting. None of us know for sure. But it sure gets a lot of attention. If you're asking for my grade, I'd say B minus. But again, I can't say I've seen B.W. Webb play a lick of football before this weekend. I wouldn't take any of these grades seriously.

mavis (houston)

Did the cowboys eye any quarterback any any point in the draft?

Todd Archer
  (1:23 PM)

I think Tyler Wilson would've been of interest had he been there in the fourth round. They were almost in a position where they had to take a QB if one fell in the fourth that they really liked.

Jack (NJ)

Who should we expect to handle return duties this year?

Todd Archer
  (1:24 PM)

Dwayne Harris on punts and I don't know on kick returns. Maybe Lance Dunbar. Maybe one of these rookies.

Mike (PA)

If Free stays, its gonna be at Guard so how does that effect a signing of Winston or Clabo?

Todd Archer
  (1:25 PM)

No, it won't be to play guard. Free is not a guard. He doesn't have the power.

CowboyRT (Atlanta, GA)

Archer, when the Cowboys put their draft board together. Are players ranked by the scouts evaluations of them alone or are they ranked by evaluation and scheme specific fit as well?

Todd Archer
  (1:27 PM)

This is a good question. The answer is all of the above, but the Floyd situation showed a flaw in how they put this year's board together. If they didn't think he was a scheme fit, then he shouldn't have been so high. We all want answers to be black and white when it comes to the draft but everything is gray.

Craig (New York)

How is it you guys grade Holloman as an "meh" type pick but fall over yourselves for Randall. Holloman was projected as a 4-5 rounder, Randall a 4. Each represented great value at need positions. Yes, Holloman may need time, but this is a 6th round investment with decent upside and another "good hands" defensive selection the team acquired (which has been a recent theme).

Todd Archer
  (1:28 PM)

You want the truth? We've seen Randle play more, he fits more of a need and can be a factor as rookie.

Bert (St. Paul, MN)

How well does Joseph Randle fit in as the backup?

Todd Archer
  (1:29 PM)

I like the pick a lot. The Cowboys needed an every-down back because of DeMarco Murray's health issues. They didn't need a specialty back. Randle was productive at Oklahoma State and clearly has a nose for the goal line. Will he be a great back? I can't say for sure, but for what this team needed, he was a terrific pick up in the fifth round.

Jon (Phoenix, AZ)

Do you feel that Frederick being a good center could take the big play ability of the over the head snap out of our playbook?

Todd Archer
  (1:30 PM)

I'm not sure how much shotgun Wisconsin used, so I don't know if that snap is gone. But I think the Cowboys liked that play because it lulled defenses to sleep. Kidding.

Luke (Maryland)

why is it that alot of people has problem with what the cowboys did?..first, fredrick is the best power blocker in the draft, 2nd they are getting six guys back on defence that was not there much last year, so no need to try and reach there,3rd they thought that those gurds from last year might be better if the go through OTAs and traning camp which they didnt last year, and they might be signing winston so they got what they think they need but just because they did not pick what the Talking Heads thought they will pick?...i dont think that makes it a bad draft?...your thought?

Todd Archer
  (1:31 PM)

Except for the Winston point, this is how I mostly feel about what happened.

Kenneth (Allen)

Do you think Jerry viewed Escobar as a Jimmy Graham seeing what the Saints have done with him?

Todd Archer
  (1:32 PM)

I don't think Escobar played hoop at San Diego State, so I'm not sure of the Graham comparison. I don't think this kid is as gifted as Graham athletically. He's good. He can make plays, but I don't think they were looking for another Graham.

Rick (TX)

Is there any inclination that Frederick plays any position other than center? Possibly moving to guard?

Todd Archer
  (1:33 PM)

He plays guard as well, but he's going to be the center. If Phil Costa shows he's among the top-five linemen in camp, then maybe Frederick moves to guard.

Joe (Charlotte NC)

As a writer yourself, do you find it hilarious when all these other writers try and predict grades for a teams draft? Most go off grades of non-NFL scouts and then try and justify themselves. Just wanted your thoughts on this. Great job as usual my friend!

Todd Archer
  (1:34 PM)

Hey, we do grades too, so I can't really knock my brethren that do them. I would just say take them all with a grain of salt. If one guy says it was an A, and one guy says it was an F then the truth is somewhere in between.

Gary (los feliz)

I think we all know where the Cowboys will focus on the draft next year since they reloaded on offense this year. Can you explain to me how they allowed the 49ers to rob them by not paying more to move up????smh

Todd Archer
  (1:36 PM)

They keep saying they got equal value per the trade chart. All charts aren't equal but there are several out there that say otherwise. But think of it this way: if they got pick No. 61 from San Fran instead of No. 74, they still would've selected Williams, so in effect they made out that way.

mark (saba)

do you see jerry making a push in free agency for a safety , OL or DL?

Todd Archer
  (1:36 PM)

There's not a lot out there to go get. I think you could see some small moves. As I said earlier, I think Free returns at a lower price. If he doesn't, then Clabo would be their top choice.

Mike (Ft Hood Tx)

I know this season hasnt even played out yet and it's too early to call this draft a failure. But what are the chances JJ starts looking at QB (Manziel?) IF this season does turn out to be a complete and utter failure?

Todd Archer
  (1:38 PM)

I think they need to look at QB next year even if they have success. There could be some good ones available. Now, I don't see them moving to the top of the draft (if required) to get one and I don't see this team falling to 3-13 or something like that where they would be in a spot to get one.

Craig (New York)

You have to concede it is somewhat telling that NO team traded up to grab the falling Sharrif Floyd.

Todd Archer
  (1:38 PM)

Craig makes a good point here, too.

carlos (laredo)

player with biggest upside Jerry drafted in later rounds is?

Todd Archer
  (1:39 PM)

How do we want to define later? Is third too early? If so, then I'd go with Randle. I think he can be a starter in this league.

Mel (MI)

The cowboys havent had a lot of success with second round tight ends, did you think it was a head scratcher to take him?

Todd Archer
  (1:41 PM)

It was a head scratcher. To a degree is still is. They could've had the best TE in the draft in Eifert at No. 18 if they were going to be this super-duper two-tight end team and then possibly gotten Frederick in the second round. That's a big if and the Cowboys didn't want to risk losing Frederick, so they went with their next best tight end in the second round. That being said, they better become a version of NE with this move to the 12 personnel package.

Ed (Georgia)

Todd, with the addition of Terrance Williams do you see us keeping both Cole Beasly and Danny Coale ? Also do you see Chris Jones as our future punter ?

Todd Archer
  (1:42 PM)

I can see Beasley and Coale both on the club if they keep six receivers. Coale is coming off an ACL injury suffered late last year so he might need some time. As for Jones, I think he's not only the future punter but the present punter. He has a strong leg.

Steven (california)

Why did dallas like jj wilcox enough to take him in the 3rd round after playing safety for a year, and whats his upside?

Todd Archer
  (1:43 PM)

Great athlete. They felt like he has more upside than guys who have played the position longer. It's a risk. This team hasn't covered itself in glory here recently with small school defensive backs.

mark ((NY))

CLABO WAS JUST SIGNED TO ATL!

Todd Archer
  (1:44 PM)

That's what I get for being on the chat. I haven't seen it. Well, scratch that. If this has happened, then I think the Cowboys keep Free even more.

Brad (Dallas)

Does Randal make Felix a late cut or bait for a trade?

Todd Archer
  (1:44 PM)

Felix is a free agent. He won't be back.

Jacob (Iowa City)

Why does it seem like everybody thinks the Cowboys can't draft well... All you have to do is look at the last few years to see that they actually have done a good job... We get the best C in the draft, a good TE, a great WR, a S that can compete... How do you feel about the draft?

Todd Archer
  (1:45 PM)

The 2010 and '11 drafts were good. The '12 draft remains a mystery. The 2006-09 drafts were not so good. So that's why people say the Cowboys can't draft well. There's pretty good evidence there.

Wesley (Texas)

Escobar is considered a pass catching TE, does that mean they will lean towards Witten and Hanna for 2 TE sets?

Todd Archer
  (1:46 PM)

No. Hanna is a pass catcher too. If it's not Escobar, then they made a mistake taking him in the second round.

Jacob (Iowa)

Does Costa move to guard now?

Todd Archer
  (1:47 PM)

Nope. He stays at center. He's a good fit here because he can play guard too.

Chris (NY)

As of now, who would you say are our projected starting safeties?

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

Barry Church and Will Allen right now. I think Matt Johnson will have a chance to win the job but it's hard to expect anything when we haven't seen him play at all.

Tony Romo (Dallas)

Who's the better golfer: Watkins, Mosley, McMahon, or you? I need one more for my foursome tomorrow.

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

Me, no doubt.

Todd (NC Mountains)

How are Lee and Carter progressing with their injuries?

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

They'll be good to go. No set backs.

Corey (D.C.)

Not to beat a dead horse here, but my issue with the 1st pick isnt about the player per se, but that they chose to fill one of the least impactful positions on the field, in an era where the NFL is all about impact players. They passed on several blue chip prospects, like Cyrpien, who would have filled major areas of need, AND who were looking like Day 1 impact players.

Todd Archer
  (1:50 PM)

Well, I wouldn't say safety is an "impactful" position, honestly. You can survive without a great safety, IMO. Maybe I'm wrong but teams around the league don't put huge resources into safeties.

mark ((NY))

Haha, Todd, your slacking man :-) Free was a disaster last year and now were stuck with him. Big mistake not to trade up and pick one of the better OL players and hope to get lucky on Fredrick later on like analysts predicted. At minimum , we should have got another OL. Thoughts on the OL? After all, if Romo goes down were pretty much screwed.

Todd Archer
  (1:52 PM)

You give the analysts too much credit. Why are they correct? I think you're right about another lineman. That wouldn't have hurt, but I do wonder if they are afraid to take on in the middle rounds because they have drafted poorly there. And if any team's starting QB goes down, you're generally in trouble. How would Denver be without Peyton Manning?

Scott (Dallas)

I think Will Allen is a guy that's going to have to be head and shoulders above Matt Johnson and Wilcox to even make the team. He provides no value on special teams, is more expensive and has no upside. He only starts if those two guys are hurt or flat out can't play.

Todd Archer
  (1:52 PM)

He's making the team. His base salary is guaranteed.

Gary (los feliz)

Does Garrett finally get fired if they don't make the playoffs?

Todd Archer
  (1:53 PM)

Would be difficult to see him back if they didn't make the playoffs but maybe circumstances would lead to another chance.

Jerry Jones (Texas)

When does the draft start? I'm fired up and ready! HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?!

Todd Archer
  (1:54 PM)

You've got about 362 days.

Gerald Sensabaught (Dallas, TX)

Hey Todd...I really enjoyed my time in Big D. Any chance Jerry brings me back on a short term deal?

Todd Archer
  (1:55 PM)

Geez, Gerald, I wish you would've spelled your last name correctly. But seriously, I do wonder if it's a possibility at a good price. I don't know why they didn't try to offer Sensabaugh a paycut.

Corey (D.C.)

I respectfully disagree with your assesment of the safety position. Im not saying they are valued as highly as QBs or DEs, but my point remains the same, they chose to use a 1st on a Center, which is much less impactful on a game-planning basis for your opponent than other positions, including Safety.

Todd Archer
  (1:56 PM)

OK, we can disagree. Every play, however, starts with the center. You better have a good one and one that can hold up at the point of attack. If you just paid the QB a ton of money, you do what you can to protect him. Having a better center, to me, is more important than safety.

Jake (Iowa)

I would like to see Garrett back even if they dont make the playoffs. I think we need some stablity in the coaching staff... Your thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (1:58 PM)

There is something about stability that makes sense, but this is a win-now league. If the Cowboys don't make the playoffs in 2013, then they will have have made the postseason once in the last six years. I think that would mean a change would be on the way.

Todd Archer
  (1:59 PM)

Thanks for all of the questions. Enjoyed it. Remember to check out the blog for updates on what's going on with the Cowboys. If you have more questions, send me an e-mail or you can follow me on Twitter (@toddarcher). See you guys next time. Courage.