For years, cornerback has a problem position in Dallas. But after two years of strong drafting and other moves, the CB group looks as solid as it has in some time. As such, it is one of the lower priorities for the Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft.
As currently constituted, the cornerbacks are young and deep. Last year’s second and third-round picks, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, had strong rookie seasons and will be given even more responsibility now.
Anthony Brown, a sixth-round pick in 2016, remains a solid depth option who has already started 19 games in his short career. He’s overachieved for his draft position and will contend for a starting job this year.
Also competing will be Byron Jones, the team’s first-round pick in 2015. After two years at safety, Jones is moving back to the corner. It’s the position he played in college and his first year with the Cowboys.
Just this week, it was announced that Dallas picked up Jones’ first-year option on his rookie deal. This means all four players we’ve discussed are under contract through next season as well.
Indeed, these are great options. Dallas felt so good about it that they were willing to make veteran Orlando Scandrick a salary cap casualty this offseason. In just two years, the Cowboys have totally made over the position from the days of Scandrick, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne.
Even the bottom of the cornerback depth chart has some intrigue. Duke Thomas was emerging in last year’s camp and preseason before a foot injury landed him on injured reserve. He’ll be just 24 in May and back to compete for a roster spot.
Also returning is Marquez White, a sixth-round pick last year, who spent the season on the practice squad. There wasn’t enough room for him on the 2017 roster, but White will hope to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier as late-round selections who’ve emerged as contributors.
Assuming Thomas or White earns a roster spot, that’s already five CBs for your 2018 roster. Given that, Dallas can afford to not spend any draft picks at the position if they choose.
That doesn’t mean the Cowboys won’t add a talent if they like somebody in those later rounds. Even with their current stockpile, they’ll draft a kid if they think he can compete for a roster spot.
If a cornerback is drafted, the fifth round is the highest I could see it happening. And even then, it would have to a real value.
More than likely, if any CBs are selected at all, it will be in those final two rounds. It’s a luxury the Cowboys can finally enjoy thanks to their successful drafting in recent years.
Hopefully, that trend continues this week.
~ ~ ~
Other 2018 Draft Needs articles:
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
- Tight End
- Offensive Tackle
- Center & Guard
- Defensive End
- Defensive Tackle
- Special Teams