When it comes to player rankings they will very team by team. Although the NFL is known to be a copycat league there are variables that come into play for each team as it pertains to scheme fit and preference for potential prospects. That’s what we are going to look at today for the Dallas Cowboys and the cornerback position.
By now you probably have a pretty good idea of who the top-ranked cornerbacks are in the 2021 draft class. Opinions of course will vary as to which CB is ranked where, but as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned they have a pretty clear set of parameters they look for under new Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn.
Dan Quinn’s heavy Cover 1-3 scheme has relied mostly on tall, lengthy cornerbacks over the years and there’s no reason to believe that will change now that he’s with the Cowboys. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 CB rankings for the Dallas Cowboys based on Quinn’s known preference.
Let’s take a look, shall we!?
#1 – Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Attitude, physicality, and versatility sets Jaycee Horn apart from the other top-ranked cornerbacks in the 2021 draft class. It’s those attributes and the fact at 6’1″, 205 he fits Dan Quinn’s size, speed, and length parameters and has earned him the top spot in my CB rankings for the Dallas Cowboys.
He is a great fit in Quinn’s heavy Cover 1-3 scheme as a press-man CB. He is patient and physical at the line of scrimmage and is disruptive and aggressive throughout the route. He can get a little grabby at times, but that’s understandable due to his physical play and it’s correctable.
#2 – Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley is the top-ranked cornerback by many around the league and around Cowboys Nation, and for good reason. He’s one of the most physically gifted defensive backs to enter the NFL in quite some time, but he carries a few red flags that is a cause of concern.
Farley’s injury history (ACL, back), his relatively newness to the position, and the fact he was a 2020 opt out makes him a buyer beware draft pick. He does check all of the boxes for Dan Quinn and would be a great fit in his scheme, but his red flags are too big of a concern for me to rank him any higher.
#3 – Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
The more and more I study Greg Newsome II the more and more I like him for the Dallas Cowboys. I like him so much he nearly surpassed Caleb Farley on this list, but for now he’s my third-ranked CB in the 2021 draft class I would mind seeing in a Cowboys uniform.
Newsome is a smooth moving, technically sound CB who might have the most consistent coverage skills in the entire draft class. Sadly, durability is an issue for him. He’s been limited to just 21 games in his three-year career at Northwestern, which played a big part in his current ranking.
#4 – Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Alabama has a long history of turning out top-notch defensive players and Patrick Surtain II will no doubt join that selective group. You’d really have to dig deep and nitpick to find many flaws in his game, but because of being so well-rounded already he doesn’t offer much upside.
What you see is probably what you’re getting with Surtain. I believe he’s just about reached his full potential, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He’s going to have a long NFL career and would fit in nicely with the Dallas Cowboys, but his lack of upside makes him a little less appealing.
#5 – Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
At 6’2″, 212 pounds Ifeatu Melifonwu has an intriguing size, speed combination that I think would fit in perfectly opposite Trevon Diggs with the Dallas Cowboys. I believe he has the versatility to play as a press-man CB, safety, or big nickel in the NFL which could only add to his value.
Melifonwu played mostly in zone coverage at Syracuse, but his length, quickness, speed, and fluidity should serve him well in man-to-man as well. He’s is as physically gifted as just about any CB in this year’s draft class and is just now starting to scratch the surface of his God-given talent.