The Dallas Cowboys made some significant changes to their secondary over the course of the offseason.
After losing former starters Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to Free Agency, the Cowboys decided to bring in veteran corner and former Philadelphia Eagle Nolan Carroll. Later on in the offseason process, the Cowboys drafted not one, but two cornerbacks on day two of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Those corners, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, are both expected to compete and challenge for week one starting jobs in the Cowboys secondary, primarily as the nickel cornerback.
While the move to sign Nolan Carroll was met with resistance from some portions of Cowboys Nation, Carroll appears to be the favorite to start at outside corner opposite second year player Anthony Brown.
At least, that’s what the first week of OTAs tells us.
Cowboys had Anthony Brown and Nolan Carroll at 1st-team outside CB in practice with Orlando Scandrick at nickel CB.
There was also significant change on the back-end of the secondary this offseason, with Barry Church and JJ Wilcox both departing for franchises in Florida.
But, as expected, the Cowboys did not panic on their safety situation, and feel comfortable going with Byron Jones and Jeff Heath. Once again, at least for now. It is only the first week of any activities, so going with the more experienced players was to be expected.
Byron Jones and Jeff Heath were the Cowboys’ first-team safeties in practice today.
If this line-up were to hold throughout the season, however, there would certainly be some level of disappointment in the two rookies among Cowboys fans. Awuzie and Lewis are both very talented players who bring some athleticism and versatility to a position group which had previously lacked both.
Both are expected to see significant time in their first year, possibly challenging Orlando Scandrick for the nickel cornerback job. It’s also possible that Lewis could make himself at home as one of the boundary corners as soon as next season. If neither is able to crack the game-day lineup at any point, I would be pretty surprised.
Still, in just the first week of the very first organized team activities of the 2017 season, the Cowboys rightfully went with the vets in group one. I can’t wait to see how these position battles play out over the course of training camp.
Plus, even if this line-up were to hold, you have to admit it’s not bad whatsoever. In fact, I would argue it’s ceiling is much higher than that of last year’s.