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Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Needs to Solidify His Role in 3rd Season

The ' 2017 draft class is already doing some heavy lifting throughout the roster, and nowhere more than in the defensive backfield. One guy who has already contributed a lot, and has plenty more expected of him, is third-year .

Awuzie and are both projected starters at CB and , respectively. However, while Woods is one of the more exciting young players on the team, Chidobe as perceived having a sophomore slump last year. They aren't coming into 2019 with the same momentum.

That makes this third season a critical one for Awuzie. Even he fights off and retains his starting role, Chidobe still has to worry about the 2020 . The Cowboys will have a fresh batch of draft picks and options to use if they feel that can upgrade the position.

Thankfully for Awuzie, and Brown for that matter, the modern NFL requires teams to carry three starting-quality cornerbacks. Defenses deploy their nickel scheme more than any other in this pass-focused era.

To illustrate, Anthony Brown played on 690 defensive snaps last season as the third cornerback. The Cowboys third , , only had 286 defensive plays.

Even if Dallas thinks they can get better at the other starting position, Awuzie and Brown can still make a push to be retained as the team's third CB. Awuzie has the right now, both as the incumbent starter and the more ideal slot cornerback with his playing style.

Also helping Chidobe is his contract, which has him in Dallas thru 2020 at just a little over $1 million per year. Anthony Brown will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Chidobe Awuzie
Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

That said, Awuzie needs to get a firm grip on that starting role now. If he doesn't, the Cowboys could easily use their 2020 first-round pick on a new wingman for .

Remember, all of these players were drafted when Coach was still in Seattle. At this point, Byron is the only CB whose performance has guaranteed a continued welcome in Dallas. Richard, who is essentially the Co- with , should have a weighty voice on who comes and goes in the Cowboys' .

If Richard does start renovating the secondary soon, Chidobe Awuzie needs a strong third year to avoid being discarded.

Hopefully, the additions of , , and others on the will improve the Cowboys . The chain reaction will ideally make life easier for Awuzie and the other defensive backs as well.

If that improvement up front and Chidobe's own third-year development can have a compound effect, his play could make a significant leap forward in 2019. That would be great for all parties involved; Dallas' could be the league's best if there are less weak spots in the secondary.

As a former second-round pick, Chidobe Awuzie shouldn't be a guy who leaves after his rookie contract. But if he doesn't establish himself now as a clear part of the defense's future, Dallas might start preparing for his departure in the next offseason.

Jess Haynie
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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