The Dallas Cowboys completely revamped their secondary via the 2017 NFL Draft, coming away with three cornerbacks and safety Xavier Woods. While second and third round CBs Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis have gotten most of the attention respectively, sixth round pick Marquez White was one of four Florida State players drafted - displaying the traits to make him a serviceable player out of the ACC for Dallas.
White will have to earn his chances in a suddenly young, athletic, and deep secondary for the Cowboys through the summer months of training camp. Here is his full scouting report.
CB Marquez White: Strengths
Having actually spent two seasons with the FSU basketball team, Marquez White is a lengthy and all-around solid athlete. When he is at his best, often playing press coverage, White is light on his feet out of his textbook stance and can disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Asked to play as a physical boundary cornerback as well as a slot player and free safety at times, White can be difficult to separate from as he can flip his hips and mirror receivers - keeping them at bay with his 32 1/8" arms.
White's pure ball skills when turned around may be limited, but he excels at sticking to his man in coverage and forcing quarterbacks to throw elsewhere. This allowed Tarvarus McFadden to tie for the nation's lead in interceptions across from him at the other starting CB spot, hauling in eight passes to Marquez White's four in 2016.
As a run defender, White will patiently use his big body to fill his lanes and assignments before rallying to the football to make flash plays with the stopping power of some linebackers. Opposing offenses were rarely able to capture the corner running towards White, who became a weapon in the back-end of this talented Florida State secondary.
CB Marquez White: Weaknesses
Marquez White's ability to be sticky in coverage is not consistent enough to really make up for his lack of awareness for diagnosing routes and playing the ball in the air. Even hesitant to come downhill when given a chance, White will struggle with his back turned, allowing late separation coming too high out of his pedal.
Marquez's long arms should benefit him greatly in coverage, but on many press coverage snaps he fails entirely to get his hands in position to jam his target. When he tries and misses, White can show some questionable balance that makes it difficult to recover.
White can stand firm against shifty receivers looking to get out of his reach at the snap, but as a result is too often caught with his feet in the ground, getting beat with the ball to the inside constantly. These in-breaking routes were finished by receivers at the catch point with White badly out of position to use any of his athleticism in contesting the throw.
As already mentioned, Marquez White will make his presence felt as a tackler against the run, but this is only when he's willing to discard his blocker and finish around the ball. Plenty of big plays for opposing offenses feature White being blocked all the way downfield with little resistance.
Marquez White: Summary
The Cowboys feel good about both Joe Baker and Greg Jackson's ability to refine the technique of the players in their secondary, as Cowboys Nation saw improvements across the board in this area a year ago.
In the sixth round, teams are drafting for traits, and Marquez White's best trait may very well be his NFL-ready frame. The Cowboys won't be forced to rush White into a starting role, giving them time to develop his potential as a relatively high-floor cornerback with size.
The playing speed is what it is for White, but the mental process at the CB position can speed up for him, and if Marquez is put in more positions to make plays he's shown on tape at the highest level of college football that he can with his length.
Anthony Brown was Dallas' steal in the sixth round at cornerback a year ago - now a starter on paper ahead of the 2017 season. Marquez may start a bit farther down the depth chart, but will be a fun player to watch progress through the offseason.
Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.
But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.
Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.
Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.
On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.
What about the rest of the class?
Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.
After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.
How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?
One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.
Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.
But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.
Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.
Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.
Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.
One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.
In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.
Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?
Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.
The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.
Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.
Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.
For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.
Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch
A week ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked out to the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive year, a large portion of Cowboys Nation was not pretty happy about the player America's Team had drafted in the first day of the Draft.
Boise State's Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has become one of the main debates among Cowboys fans right now and will continue to be one at least until the season starts. Some are fine with the decision the front office made and some simply don't view Vander Esch as a first round talent.
Naturally, taking Leighton in the first round has been widely compared to the team's last first round pick: Taco Charlton.
Both of these selections resulted in fans all around the world complaining and criticizing the selections since they both seemed like a reach, arguing that they could've gotten better players at other positions.
But fans shouldn't be so quick to compare the Charlton and Vander Esch selections, because they really aren't that similar. Sure, most of the media and Draft fans didn't consider any of these players worthy of a first round pick, but that doesn't mean both players were ranked similarly in the Cowboys' draft board.
Defensive End Taco Charlton, despite showing some very promising flashes towards the end of the year, wasn't able to become a starter at any point during his rookie season. Hopefully he develops into one next season. But when you're talking about first-round picks, being a solid starter at the end of the season at the latest is a very usual expectation.
Possibly what made the Taco pick hurt even more, is the fact that the front office didn't even consider him a first-round talent. Although he was drafted to wear the Star with the 28th overall pick, he wasn't their guy.
The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.
With Leighton Vander Esch, the same can't be said. The Cowboys knew he was their guy and that they were going to take him, regardless of the situation. For many weeks we wondered about just every scenario the team might face when they were on the clock.
What if DE Harold Landry is available? What if Calvin Ridley is still on the board? What if Derwin James slides, would they trade up?
For the front office, there was quite a lot of talent to choose from at 19 (not to mention James did slide out of the top 15), but they still took Leighton Vander Esch, even with Landry and Ridley on the board. We might disagree with the pick. We might not think the Boise State's product should've been taken so early. That's completely fine.
But Cowboys Nation should be happy knowing that this was the guy they wanted all along. Maybe if Derwin James hadn't been drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick, Dallas would have still taken Vander Esch.
"If the Cowboys traded up a few spots in the first round, I believe it would have been to ensure they got Vander Esch, not get James or Edmunds." Dane Brugler on the Cowboys' approach to the Draft.
For now, it's time to root for the Dallas Cowboys' new rookie. Vander Esch will provide a special factor to this defense and has the potential to become a very good starter down the road. Playing side by side with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will certainly help his development and turn him into an impact player soon.
At the end of the day, it takes years to properly evaluate how a draft pick turned out in the NFL. There are first round players who turn out to be complete busts just like there are sixth or seventh round players that go on to become superstars in the league.
The Dallas Cowboys did a hell of a job addressing their needs throughout the Draft this year and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this year's draft picks. Leighton Vander Esch is without a doubt, one of them.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Player News1 day ago
WATCH: LB Jaylon Smith Moving Without Brace
Player News1 week ago
Cowboys D-Line Updates: Gregory, Irving, McClain
Star Blog4 days ago
Could Cowboys Have Second Chance at Acquiring RB Donnel Pumphrey?
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Sean’s Scout: WR Cedrick Wilson the Missing Vertical Threat for Cowboys Offense
Star Blog1 week ago
The Dallas Cowboys Have Very Few Positions of Need
Star Blog6 days ago
Which UFAs Have Best Chance to Make the Cowboys Roster?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys QB Cooper Rush Has a New Fight in 2018
Star Blog1 week ago
Sean’s Scout: QB Mike White Brings Athleticism, Accuracy to Dallas Cowboys