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Dallas Cowboys Draft Target: Minnesota Safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

For years now, the have foregone any type of investment in the position whether in the draft or in . They've opted for bargains in free agency, late-round selections in the draft or undrafted to fill their ranks in the back end of their .

Just last year, with a deep safety class in the , the Cowboys passed on upgrading the position and attempted to find help in the interior of their . Well, the Cowboys sit here in the yet again looking at a potentially deep group of safeties in both free agency and the draft and will have the opportunity to upgrade the position by pairing a playmaker with incumbent starter .

Let's talk about Safety .

As primarily a for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Antoine Winfield Jr. played in 10 games as a freshman, starting seven of them. Over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Winfield Jr. only played in eight games, missing a lot of time due to .

In the , he rebounded with an excellent season intercepting seven passes, returning one for a touchdown, while adding three , 3.5 tackles for loss, and 83 tackles while starting all 12 games for the 11-2 Golden Gophers.

& Fumbles Table
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Def Def Def Def Fumb Fumb
Year School G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR FF
*2016 Minnesota 10 37 15 52 2.5 0.0 1 82 82.0 1 3 2 0
2017 Minnesota 4 17 3 20 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 2 0 0
*2018 Minnesota 4 10 7 17 0.0 0.0 1 0 0.0 0 0 1 0
*2019 Minnesota 12 58 25 83 3.5 3.0 7 98 14.0 1 1 0 2
Career Minnesota 122 50 172 7.0 4.0 9 180 20.0 2 6 3 2
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/9/2020.

He doesn't have great size, listed at just 5-10, but his compact frame carries 205 pounds and it doesn't seem to slow him down at all. Winfield Jr. plays with great play speed. He comes downhill fast when asked to blitz or help in run support. He times the blitz well rushing between the and the . He consistently attempts to wrap up when making tackles and rarely missed in the games scouted. When playing in pursuit, he takes excellent angles and rarely is found chasing the play.

In Minnesota's defense, he played primarily as a deep safety in a variety of two-man and single-high safety looks. He has the range to play sideline to sideline in both single-high and cover two. In his senior season, Winfield Jr. showed a penchant for getting his hands on the football and is a natural playmaker. With seven interceptions, six passes defended, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, he's a player that could help turn around the Cowboys inability to create turnovers.

Obviously, the injuries that kept him out of games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons are a concern that, but his ability to bounce back and play 12 games in 2019 should help to alleviate any concerns about his ability to stay healthy.

He'll be a player on the Dallas Cowboys radar as new Maurice Linguist was in the same position in 2017 and 2018 and has a relationship with Antoine Winfield Jr. The Cowboys should be able to get excellent insight into who Winfield Jr. is as a player and a person.

The Dallas Cowboys need more playmakers in the secondary if they're going to accomplish the things they want to accomplish as a defense under and Antoine Winfield, Jr. is someone who could help the Cowboys get there.

John Williams
John Williams
Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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