It’s been known all season that the Dallas Cowboys are thin at the cornerback position. In Week 16, Morris Claiborne was held out, leaving Deji Olatoye to start opposite of Brandon Carr. Olatoye was signed to the Cowboys’ practice just a few days before Week 1. However, after Corey White was released, the Cowboys promoted Olatoye to the active roster.
In his first start for the Cowboys, Olatoye was impressing, recording six tackles and a redzone interception towards the end of the first half. Let’s take a peek at Olatoye’s skills against the run.
In this GIF, we see Olatoye come up and meet Karlos Williams at the line of scrimmage. Olatoye showed consistently in this game that he’s a capable tackler. Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be said about Claiborne.
Here’s the Olatoye play of the game. On this play, Olatoye recognizes the fade route and uses the sideline as his friend. Olatoye doesn’t allow himself to get beat inside. He knows that Tyrod Taylor will have a tougher throwing lane if he’s throwing towards the sideline.
After seeing the ball come his way, Olatoye pedals forward to step in front of Chris Hogan to nab the interception, marking the Cowboys’ second straight week with an interception.
In just a small sample size, Olatoye isn’t a world-beater by any means. He got beat twice in this game so it’s safe to say he isn’t the next Deion Sanders. However, I’ve mentioned multiple times in the past few weeks that the Cowboys are going to have to address the cornerback position again this offseason.
Byron Jones will likely make the transition to the free safety position this offseason, Carr will likely be designated as a post June 1st cut so the Cowboys would save more money, and, while he has played well this season, I don’t expect Claiborne to be a member of the Cowboys next season. Sure Orlando Scandrick will be back in 2016, but the Cowboys are still going to need to address this position.
Fortunately, Olatoye showed that he deserves a spot on this team. Again, it’s a small sample size, but this game alone shows me that the Cowboys have a guy who can play a role in the defensive secondary in 2016, and the fact that he costs just $525,000 is just another bonus.