All-Pro Bryon Jones left a huge hole in the Dallas Cowboys secondary when he signed a five-year, 82.5 million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins. Now, the cornerback position has risen up the importance ladder in terms of the Cowboys strategy in April when the NFL Draft rolls around.
Two of the top cornerbacks in the nation seem to keep popping up when mock drafts for the Cowboys are made, and that’s Florida’s CJ Henderson and Alabama’s Trevon Diggs. The former is the lead candidate with the fan base considering he’s more polished overall, while the latter is a little more raw at this point. Nonetheless, both of these young talents bring a bag full of tools that can be utilized on the professional level and could instantly help the Cowboys.
Henderson has the height and length you want for a cornerback at 6’1 204 pounds. He has tremendous closing speed and anticipation to break up passes that appear to be easy completions. You can rely on him in press coverage or zone which shows his flexibility. Running a 4.39 in the 40 gives him the speed to not only cover receivers downfield when they try to take the top off of defense but also on quicker routes like the slant. Henderson returned an interception for a touchdown in each of his first two games at Florida which shows he not only can take the ball away but he looks to put points on the board. He’s willing to provide support against the run although he’ll need to show more discipline when tackling, which is probably the biggest knock on him.
Diggs, much like Henderson, has the size you want at 6’1 205 pounds. He’s athletic enough to not only cover smaller, faster receivers but he can match up with bigger targets as well. Very good at reading the quarterback’s eyes and has the anticipation and closing speed to disrupt throwing lanes. Displayed elite ball skills to make impressive interceptions during his senior season. He had a nose for the end zone in 2019 as he scored on a fumble recovery and an interception. His speed covering receivers downfield is his biggest weakness but with veteran safeties Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix covering over the top he wouldn’t be asked to do so as much. Also, he returned punts and kickoffs with pretty decent success in college.
One thing that will help either of these prospects if they’re drafted by the Cowboys will be the additions on the defensive front. Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe add much-needed size and pressure from the interior. The more havoc they cause will force double team’s, which would allow All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence and hopefully a soon to be reinstated Randy Gregory more one-on-one opportunities. The better your pass rush, the easier it is for your secondary to make plays.
A potential roadblock for the Cowboys when it comes to Henderson is the Atlanta Falcons, who pick a few spots ahead and are said to be extremely interested in him.
Henderson and Diggs are extremely talented cornerbacks with very high ceilings entering the NFL. If this position is what the organization has their minds set on addressing first, either one of these guys would be an immediate upgrade and the team’s CB1 for the 2020 season and the foreseeable future.