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Could Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones be a Cornerback in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys FS Byron Jones Works With Frisco RoughRiders To Improve Hands

When you take a look at the Dallas Cowboys roster, you realize there's a good amount of players who cause quite a bit of polemical discussions among fans. Of course, some because of different reasons than others.

Since he was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Byron Jones has been one of those players for Cowboys Nation. Jones has his fair share of fans, but others don't really like him as a player. Some have gone as far as saying he shouldn't even be a starter in the NFL.

But the truth is, Byron's talent is off the charts. He has the opportunity to become a great player if given the chance. His athleticism is outstanding and he's shown it again and again on the field. However, he has indeed struggled at times.

As a rookie, he was used in multiple positions, never really settling at one. This showed just how much he could do, but one could say it ultimately harmed Jones. Having to play everywhere didn't let him play up to his strengths.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

2017 Cowboys Defense - Splash Plays - Final Standings:

In 2018, the Cowboys will have a lot of decisions to make. Among others, deciding where to play Byron this season will be one of them. Will they keep him at safety? He's been good there, but some would argue Dallas could improve the position with someone else.

Say the front office does make a run for Seahawks' Earl Thomas, Kavon Frazier impresses the team in training camp and he earns a chance to display his physicality as a starting safety. That could be a very good unit and the Cowboys have the chance to move Jones to cornerback next to a talented young duo in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.

With 2018 being Jones' last year under contract, this will be a defining season for his career. Fortunately for him, the Cowboys are bringing in an excellent defensive backs coach. The creator of Seattle's Legion of Boom, Kris Richard, will surely get the most out of Jones this season.

As Staff Writer Brian Martin wrote back in December, one has to question if Jones has been a victim of poor coaching:

"For Byron Jones to finally live up to his draft status, the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff is going to have to use him correctly. They either need to move him back to cornerback full-time or make him a single high safety where he can use his range and athleticism." Brian Martin on Byron Jones.

This is a defense that has the opportunity to have a top defensive line and making the right call regarding Jones can result in them having a very fine secondary as well. Hopefully, whatever the choice this coaching staff makes, it works out the best for Jones and the team. He is a freakish athlete who is often hated by a lot of fans. This is the season to prove them all wrong.

Tell me what you think about "Could Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones be a Cornerback in 2018?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Travis Diggs

    February 11, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Kris Richards got something special brewing for this defense. I think Byron plays corner at some point because of his athleticism allowing Xavier Woods and whoever to start at safety(maybe Earl Thomas, Maybe Derwin James) and making it easier to let Scandrick go

  2. dallas1966

    February 11, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    If the Cowboys was able to pull the rabbit out of the hat, by bringing earl thomas to big d. I see the Cowboys secondary consisting of thomas, frazier , jones and cheetos .
    With the front 7 being lawrence, irving, vea , crawford [or a rejuvenated randy gregory], with a linebacker corps of lee, hitchens and smith.
    The orphans are back!!

  3. Don Carlock

    February 12, 2018 at 7:34 am

    “Polemical”? Come on.

    • ghetto eskimo

      February 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      its a good word.. my college professor used it all the time… threw for a loop every time i heard it too…

  4. Nick Russo

    February 12, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Byron Jones moving back to corner would be great for our secondary. He excels in coverage especially against TEs, which is valuable as we play Zach Ertz, Jordan Reed, and Evan Engram twice a year. Ideally he would start outside opposite of Chido and that would allow Jourdan Lewis to take over the slot/nickel CB role. With Xavier woods playmaking and tackling ability, and Kavon Frazier’s ability to step up in the box and be a trusted tackler against the run, I think this move is a no brainer. Jones is much better in coverage than playing the run and with his size and coverage ability it makes sense to move him back to CB.

  5. ghetto eskimo

    February 12, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    i just think the cowboys should just get rid of that empirically terrible Tampa-2 and just let Byron Jones be the single high safety… if you play him there, then you wont need to look elsewhere for another safety.. just throw that crappy tampa-2 in the trash and leave it there….. but we won’t, because Marinelli is an idiot!! *le sigh*

  6. Russ_Te

    February 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Since Woods started flasing ability, I’ve maintained that Jones will return to CB. Woods’ natural position is FS because of smallish size and real ballhawk skills. Jones has speed and can leap, and was never given a full chance at CB.

    Pass on Earl Thomas, bet on Woods. Get me a different FA, a swing OL or speed WR.

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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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5 Studs and Duds From the Dallas Cowboys 2018 Season 2

I know we are all still little disappointed with the way the Dallas Cowboys 2018 season ended, but if we are completely honest with ourselves it ended a lot better than we initially thought it would. With the season officially over, it's time to start the evaluation process to see what went wrong and what right this past year.

I don't know about you, but I started the evaluation process a lot earlier this year than I have in years past. That is why today I want to share with you five of the Dallas Cowboys players who I believe had a fantastic 2018 season and five that unfortunately didn't quite live up to expectations.

Before we get started, I want to let you know that I tried to stray from pointing out the obvious, especially in the stud category. Instead I went with players who kind of came out of nowhere to have a really good season. I thought that would make it a little more enjoyable instead of pointing out the obvious. I hope you enjoy.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Studs ✭

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones

CB, Byron Jones

Byron Jones completely turned around his career this season with the Dallas Cowboys after being moved from safety to cornerback, his more natural position. Many had him pegged as a first-round bust, but he definitely quieted his critics by making his first Pro Bowl and becoming a Second-team All-Pro. I would say that qualifies as stud status.

The Predator and Wolf Hunter

You can't really mention one and leave out the other, which is why you're getting a two-for-one special here with Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. This dynamic duo arguably played like the best LBs in the league, although it's Vander Esch who has received the majority of the attention and got the Pro Bowl not as a replacement. Both definitely had Pro Bowl caliber seasons and that alone speaks volumes to how they played in 2018.

C, Joe Looney

No one could've possibly predicted the kind of season Dallas Cowboys backup Guard/Center Joe Looney would have in 2018 after replacing Travis Frederick in the starting lineup. He became somewhat of an afterthought this past season, which is pretty impressive in itself considering he was replacing one of the best centers in the league. What's even more impressive is the fact he played every single snap on offense. No other Cowboys player accomplished that feat on either side of the ball.

DE, Randy Gregory

You may disagree with me here, but the way Randy Gregory played in the second half of the 2018 season earned him stud status in my opinion. If he would've played that way for the entire year he would've joined DeMarcus Lawrence with double digit quarterback sacks. His ability to turn his speed into power gave opposing left tackles fits. He ended up being among the best at pressuring the QB in the latter part of the season.

DT, Antwaun Woods

Antwaun Woods was viewed as nothing more than a camp body when the Dallas Cowboys picked him up in the offseason after being released by the Tennessee Titans, but it's not always where you start it's where you finish. He went on to earn the starting gig at the 1-tech or nose tackle this past season and was largely responsible for the success Dallas had at shutting down opposing offenses rushing attacks. Unfortunately, as well as he played all season it will probably be forgotten after the way the LA Rams completely dominated Woods and the rest of the Cowboys DL in the playoffs.

✭ Dallas Cowboys 2018 Duds ✭

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

LB, Sean Lee

The Dallas Cowboys wisely drafted Leighton Vander Esch as insurance if Sean Lee couldn't remain healthy in 2018, and thank the heavens they did. Vander Esch was supposed to be Lee's backup this season, but it ended up being the other way around after #50 once again missed quite a bit of the year with injuries. It looks like the torch has already been passed, making Sean Lee's future in Dallas a mystery moving forward.

DT, David Irving

Remember last offseason when the Dallas Cowboys decided to place just a second-round tender on David Irving and we were worried some other team would snatch him up? Yeah, well it looks as if the Cowboys are the ones who paid too much to keep him around because did basically nothing in 2018 despite all the high expectations we all had for him. After he sustained a high ankle sprain he pretty much went M.I.A. and no one really knows what the heck is going on or what his future holds.

WR, Allen Hurns

The Dallas Cowboys signed Allen Hurns this past offseason to help replace some of the lost production in the passing game after they decided to release Dez Bryant. Unfortunately, he never found his footing in Dallas and finished the year with an unimpressive stat line of 20 receptions for 295 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To add insult to injury (pun intended), his gruesome leg injury might be the only thing we remember about his 2018 season.

S, Jeff Heath

I'm actually a fan of Jeff Heath's, but he didn't particularly play very well this season. He ended up grading out as one of the worst tackling safeties in the NFL this past season. I don't know if it was some kind of fluke or what, but the Dallas Cowboys will surely be looking to upgrade the safety position this offseason either through free agency or the draft, perhaps both. Regardless, his days in the starting lineup may be all but over.

RB/WR, Tavon Austin

There were a lot of high expectations for Tavon Austin when the Dallas Cowboys added him via trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Austin was supposed to provide a different dynamic to the Cowboys offense and help improve their return game as well. Unfortunately a groin injury pretty much wiped out the majority of his season, but even when he was on the field he wasn't as impactful as we'd all hoped. He did show a few flashes of his talent, but for me it wasn't enough.



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Report: Antwaun Woods Played with Torn Labrum in Loss to Rams

John Williams

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HOU 19, DAL 16: Cowboys Lose Tough Defensive Battle in Overtime

Late last night, Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported yesterday that Antwaun Woods suffered a torn labrum in the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams and proceeded to play with the injury for the rest of the game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DT Antwaun Woods tore his labrum during the second quarter of the #Rams game and had surgery today to repair it, source said. He played the rest of the game with the ailment. One of Dallas' young talents on the mend.

Woods is a tough player, but there's no way that it didn't affect his play. The labrum is the cartilage in the socket of your shoulder joint. It acts to protect the bones from rubbing together and allows a smooth surface for the shoulder to rotate and extend. The labrum also serves as the location where the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff attach.

A torn labrum will effect the range of motion and will be painful to use when attempting to perform range of motion. Also, any blows to the shoulder, which is always for a defensive tackle will be painful as well, and it will limit his play strength.

https://twitter.com/AntwaunWoods_/status/1086089237785653248

Antwaun Woods responded to Rapoport's report with confirmation of the injury and surgery.

Woods was a highlight of training camp and a standout this season. His play at the 1-technique defensive tackle position helped the Dallas Cowboys become a top 10 rushing defense and gave the Cowboys something they've struggled to find for years; a penetrating 1-technique defensive tackle.

Woods finished the season with 34 total tackles (15 solo), two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits according to Pro Football Reference. He also had 16 stops, which Pro Football Focus defines as a play that resulted in a loss for the offense, which was second on the team at defensive tackle to Tyrone Crawford.

Things are looking up for Woods as he'll likely be back with the Cowboys in 2019 and manning the nose tackle position for a defense that is on the rise in the NFL. Injuries are never a good thing, but the Cowboys and Cowboys Nation just learned how tough Antwaun Woods is and how much he's willing to give for his teammates.



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