With the pending free agent status of starting cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, there is a case to be made that the Dallas Cowboys' biggest need on defense is at CB as opposed to defensive end. Fortunately for them, the 2017 NFL Draft class is deep at both positions, more so at cornerback though. Washington's Sidney Jones sits near the top of any positional rankings at CB, and for good reasons as an athletic and confident player that could still be on the board when the Cowboys draft with the 28th overall pick.
A day one starter that would bring a well-balanced game and boost of athleticism to the Dallas Cowboys secondary, let's take a closer look at CB Sidney Jones' fit with the Cowboys.
An incredibly smooth athlete, Jones' understanding of his own body and skill set jumps out on tape…
This film clip and quote comes from my full scouting report on Washington's Sidney Jones at Slant Sports, and quickly gives you a feel for the type of player he is. Jones consistently puts himself in position to make plays on the ball – a welcome sight to Cowboys fans that have seen enough of corners that consistently allow big plays in years past.
…he consistently wins against almost any type of wide receiver.
Jones' ability to make plays stems from his athleticism in coverage off the line, as his elite balance and change-of-direction ability allows him to stick to any receiver in multiple types of coverage.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli asks his defensive backs to play a lot of coverages, with the more conservative ones typically being dialed up with the acknowledgment that opposing quarterbacks will have time to throw with Dallas' lack of pass rush.
As an off-man cornerback, Jones displays some of the same physicality as he does in the press at the top of his receiver's route
Fortunately, Jones can excel in this role with his fluidity to rally to the ball along with adequate speed to pair with his awareness.
As the Cowboys expect to also improve their pass rush this offseason through free agency and the draft, their secondary should be able to play more press coverage – yet another area Sidney Jones is comfortable in.
Never missing with his jam, Jones has the ability to fluidly play in press man and utilize his functional length to disrupt WRs off the line.
Excelling in pass coverage is not the only thing that earned Sidney Jones a first round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft Board though, as he also showcases his athleticism as a willing run defender.
The fans of whatever NFL team Sidney Jones lands on in the 2017 NFL Draft should be ecstatic. Jones will be a starting outside cornerback as a rookie, and one that should be expected to make impact plays in coverage – in addition to what he provides as a back-end run support CB.
Anthony Brown projects to start as an outside cornerback for the Cowboys in 2017, after emerging onto the scene as a rookie sixth round steal, as does the veteran Orlando Scandrick – who comes with his own injury and durability concerns.
Whether or not Carr, Claiborne, or neither defender is back with the team, Washington's Sidney Jones would be yet another first round draft pick for the Cowboys that can make an immediate impact as a rookie and improve a passing defense that will be critical to the Cowboys' overall success next season.
With an offense that grinds out long scoring drives, the Cowboys defense can complement this dominant offense much better moving forward with added talent in the secondary – forcing teams (many of which should be trailing on the scoreboard against Dallas) to equally have to dink-and-dunk their way down the field.
Sidney Jones can be this added talent in Greg Jackson's secondary, and would be more than deserving of the Dallas Cowboys' 28th overall pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.