The Wisconsin Badgers have developed a reputation for having a dominant offensive line over the past decade and longer. They sent a number of players into the NFL draft who have been taken in all levels. Frederick is the latest interior linemen who looks like a future starter at the next level.
As a sophomore, Frederick was one of the Badgers’ most valuable linemen. He was a tremendous run-blocker, paving the way for running back Montee Ball. Frederick, Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler were a dynamic interior that destroyed defenders at the point of attack. Frederick did a decent job in pass protection, but was aided by mobile quarterback Russell Wilson and his ability to escape pressure.
Frederick moved to center to replace Konz this past year. He wasn’t as dominant at center as he was at guard in 2011. The Badgers were struggling to run the ball early in the season, but heated up going against weak Big Ten competition. Frederick struggled against Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill and didn’t do well against Stanford.
There is no doubt that Frederick’s best skill is his run blocking. Frederick is a road-grading guard like Zeitler who can push around defensive linemen. He is a good drive blocker who can open holes at the point of attack. Frederick had a disappointing Combine as he ran slowly, did poorly in the field drills and had a low total on the bench press (21 reps).
Frederick’s biggest weakness comes in pass protection with speed-rushing defensive tackles. He will have to get better at handling them in the NFL. He may not win a starting position as rookie in training camp because of this, but in time he should improve his pass protection where he can at least be reliable.
Frederick could play guard or center in the NFL. He may be better at guard, but he dropped weight from his frame to play in the middle. Frederick’s best fit for the NFL comes in a man-blocking scheme. He doesn’t have the quickness and mobility that zone-blocking teams require.
Let me start this off by discussing the move back to No. 31. Great idea, in theory. Historically, teams have found the most value drafting in the back of the first round and throughout the second round (relative to the cost of the picks). So that’s the good news.
The bad news is the Cowboys got below-average compensation. According to the NFL Draft Value Chart, the 49ers should have surrendered their second-round selection for the rights to move up from 31 to 18—not their third. Now, the Cowboys stated that they have their own trade chart, and that’s fine, but the fact is that teams have been making trades using the “old” chart as recently as last year. Actually, the Cowboys’ trade up for Morris Claiborne last year followed the “old” chart very closely. So it doesn’t really matter what you think the trade back is worth, it’s what you can get for it. And the Cowboys could have gotten a better deal than a third-round pick to move down nearly half of the first round.