After selecting defensive end Taco Charlton in the first round, the Cowboys stuck to their pre-draft script and found two cornerbacks on day two.
The first of those corners, Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie, was drafted 60th overall by the Dallas Cowboys. The 5'11” 202 pound cornerback was a three-star recruit before starting the first nine games of his freshman season. As a senior, Awuzie started all 14 games and earned second team All-Pac 12 honors for Colorado as a part of their loaded secondary. In between, Awuzie was a four year starter and a veteran leader for the Buffalos.
What separates Awuzie from many of the other corners in this draft class is his position versatility. In college Awuzie played all around the secondary, including on the outside, in the slot, and as a free and strong safety. This versatility lends him well to the Cowboys defense which is in need of both quality corners and safeties.
Something Awuzie did a lot of in college was blitzing from the slot. Finishing with 8 sacks over his final two seasons, Awuzie is a threat to create pressures and hurry the quarterback as a blitzing corner.
These numbers speak to Awuzie's willingness as a tackler and physicality as well. While he sometimes tackles too high or jumps into his target, Awuzie has no issue with taking on blockers or squaring up to hit on the outside.
In coverage, Chidobe Awuzie does a lot of what the ex-Cowboys defensive backs didn't. Mostly, he gets his hands on the ball a lot, with 39 passes defensed over 3 years. While this quality is important, it is a bit troubling that with 39 passes defensed, Awuzie only came down with 3 interceptions during his college career.
Patient and fluid in his drops with solid athleticism and fluid hips, Awuzie is a rather sticky cover guy who does a nice job of keeping on the receiver's back hip before jumping on the route.
On this play, we see Awuzie at his best in coverage. Letting the receiver come to him while staying patient and balanced in his backpedal, Awuzie trusts his instincts and athleticism to come down with the interception.
Unlike some of the bigger corners in this draft class, Chidobe Awuzie looks natural playing the ball in the air. When tracking the ball, Awuzie has no issues turning his head around and keeping his positioning in coverage.
Chidobe Awuzie is a much-needed addition to the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Combined with Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods, the Cowboys added three defensive backs who should be able to make a significant impact in year one. And when you throw in Marquez White, the Cowboys have created a nice, young, developmental secondary core.
In time, Awuzie can be a Swiss-Army Knife on the defense, moving around the field to fill whatever role is needed on the given snap.
Already having a player who can move around the field in Byron Jones, the Cowboys should be able to disguise coverages and fool offenses frequently, starting in 2017. Overall, I like the selection of Chidobe Awuzie, especially when taken within the context of the entire draft class.