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Could Chidobe Awuzie & Jourdan Lewis be Cowboys Starting CBs in 2020?

If the Dallas Cowboys allow top Cornerback Byron Jones and backup Anthony Brown to depart this offseason as free agents, it would leave Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis as the only legitimate starting options for 2020. While a new corner would likely be added this offseason, how would Dallas fare with Awuzie and Lewis taking over as the new top two?

Second and third-round picks in 2017, Chido and Jourdan were expected to play major roles on the team from the moment they were drafted. Awuzie has been a starter the majority of his career thus far, while Lewis had to fight past Brown to claim a larger role last season.

Ironically, Lewis has arguably been the better player so far. But his smaller size was an issue for former Defensive Backs Coach (and pseudo Defensive Coordinator) Kris Richard, and Jourdan was held back a bit the last two seasons.

But with Jones and Brown’s contracts expiring and nothing clear about the Cowboys’ plans for then, Awuzie and Lewis are the only secured assets for 2020. Other players under contract such as Donovan Olumba, D.J. White, and Chris Westry are all unproven prospects; we’d be worried even trusting one of them as the third CB this season.

There’s a reason we must consider this potential dilemma. If the Cowboys let Byron Jones walk it’s because they don’t have money to burn, and that same limitation could prevent them from signing a comparable replacement.

Counting on the draft to replace Byron would also be complicated. Would a rookie taken at the 17th pick be guaranteed to start immediately? And worse, what if he’s another Taco Charlton or Morris Claiborne?

The Cowboys could try to fill Jones’ spot but still wind up needing Awuzie and Lewis to start Week One.

Jourdan Lewis Continues to Shine, Needs More Playing Time
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis

The guy who might make it work is Lewis. If the new coaching staff is more willing to trust Jourdan than the last one, Dallas may get to realize why Jourdan was seen as a potential late first-round talent in the 2017 draft.

Remember, Lewis fell to the third round that year because of unresolved domestic violence charges. He was eventually found not guilty but not before the accusation wrecked his draft stock.

Jourdan’s four interceptions so far in the NFL, despite his limited usage by the Cowboys, speak to his play-making potential. If he can make opposing teams pay for throwing in his direction enough times, he may be able to have a similar on-field impact as Byron Jones.

No, Byron hasn’t been an interception machine of any kind. But even with just two career picks, Jones has been able to demand respect through his superior coverage skills.

Opposing quarterbacks don’t like messing with Byron Jones. If Lewis can eventually have that same reputation, then he can duplicate the effect on opponents’ decision making.

Now this is a big leap of faith, and one the Cowboys probably aren’t ready to make. Trusting Awuzie and Lewis to start in 2020 would mean counting on both to raise their games, and that may be asking too much in their fourth seasons.

But depending on how cap dollars and draft picks fall then Dallas may not have a better option. If 2020 does end up being the Chido and Jourdan show at cornerback, then we have to hope that the new defensive coaches can get more out of them than Kris Richard did.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. J Lewis is a good corner. I would still draft corner or a safety who can play corner too. this year my draft would be 17: R1P17
    S XAVIER MCKINNEY
    ALABAMA
    51: R2P19
    CB CAMERON DANTZLER
    MISSISSIPPI STATE
    82: R3P18
    TE BRYCEN HOPKINS
    PURDUE
    120: R4P17
    EDGE ALTON ROBINSON
    SYRACUSE
    164: R5P18
    LB LOGAN WILSON
    WYOMING
    179: R5P33
    DL RAEQUAN WILLIAMS
    MICHIGAN STATE
    231: R7P17
    WR JOE REED
    VIRGINIA

    • Agree, Lewis is definitely a good CB, Disagree on waiting till last pick for a DT. We need a run stuffing DT in the 1st or 2nd. Would even move up to get Brown if possible??? Otherwise go get Fotu or Gallimore in the 2nd.

  2. I wouldn’t mind Jourdan Lewis as a starter, he’s a good corner!! I always had him as either the number one or the number 2 corner on the team!! I had him right there with Byron, but the coaches wouldn’t play him enough cause of his size!! And the time he did play was really good and he was doing that in the slot which is a harder spot to cover wide receiver’s than it is on the outside!! So I think he’d be a better corner on the outside than he was on the inside and that says a lot considering how good he was in the slot!! The only one out of the 2 that I’m worried about is Chido…. He’s been on the outside all this time and hasn’t been that good!! He got beat a little too much for my liking!! I’d draft a corner in the 2nd or 3rd round to challenge Chido for the number 2 corner spot and keep Lewis as the number one corner!! And put Donovan Olumba and Chris Westry on the 53 for backups and bring Anthony Brown back to go in the slot!! But that’s just my opinion!!

  3. J-Lew Def at least 2nd best corner on the team. His rookie year i thought he did pretty well being thrown in a starting role. Then got black balled because he wasn’t the “prototype” Richard was looking for. I think they should put chido at safety since he can’t seem to turn his head and find the ball. That way everything is already out in front of him. I guess that is if they don’t take a safety 1st rd.

  4. I hate to say it but Jourdan Lewis is extremely overrated by cowboys fans. He is solid not good. He gave up more yards per coverage snap out of the slot then Anthony Brown and it wasn’t really close. Lewis was at the bottle of the league in that stat he just made a few wow plays that everyone remembers. Chido is better he had a a couple bad games but full body of work I trust him more. I would resign Brown draft a corner at 17 or 51 add a free agent and let them sort it out in camp.

    • I’d take Lewis over Byron’s 2 INTs in 5 season. One came off a deflection. Brown has 4 INTs in 4 seasons and 0 last year. In 3 seasons Lewis has 4 INTs. Doing so with less snaps. Now Chido is suspect. There were times he looked to have given up and was benched against the Jets. 3 INTS in 3 seasons. Draft a S and work in the free agency or resign Brown if agrees to a discount.

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