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Evaluating the Dallas Cowboys CB Position as a Whole




After free agency there was no secret what the Dallas Cowboys' biggest holes were going into the draft. They certainly needed talent along the defensive line, but more importantly they needed bodies at cornerback.

With Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll, Leon McFadden, and Jeremiah McKinnon being the only defensive backs under contract, Dallas needed to bring in bodies, but bodies with talent.

The Shopping Spree

The Dallas Cowboys certainly didn't ignore their secondary this off-season, adding more than enough players to the mix to battle for a spot on the Cowboys roster.

After losing two of their starting Corners to free agency (Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr), the Cowboys signed Nolan Carroll in free agency after spending three years in Philadelphia. Carroll will likely be handed one of the starting cornerback spots due to his experience at the position, the size of his contract, and talent at the position.

The Cowboys also loaded up on CBs in the draft spending three of their nine draft picks on guys to fill Carr and Claiborne's shoes. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Marquez White were all drafted by the Cowboys to come in and compete for a starting role and at least a rotational role right away.

The Cowboys CB depth this time last year looked a little like:

  • Morris Claiborne (Signed by NYJ via Free Agency)
  • Brandon Carr (Signed by BAL via Free Agency)
  • Orlando Scandrick (Under Contract by DAL)
  • Anthony Brown (Under Contract by DAL)
  • Leon McFadden (Under Contract by DAL)
  • Deji Olatoye (Signed by ATL)
  • Josh Thomas (Free Agent)
  • Buddy Jackson (Free Agent)
  • Terrance Mitchell (Signed by KC)

The Cowboys Current CB depth looks a lot different:

  • Nolan Carroll (Signed by DAL via Free Agency)
  • Orlando Scandrick (Returning Player)
  • Anthony Brown (Returning Player)
  • Chidobe Awuzie (2nd Round Pick)
  • Jourdan Lewis (3rd Round Pick)
  • Marquez White (6th Round Pick)
  • Duke Thomas (UDFA)
  • Sammy Seamster (Returning Practice Squad Player)
  • Leon McFadden (Returning Player)
  • Jeremiah McKinnon (Returning Player)

As you will notice there are only three familiar names between the two lists. Scandrick, Brown, and McFadden are the only returning players from 2016. Pretty crazy, huh?

Projecting The Cornerback Depth Chart

Now obviously the team will not keep all of the 10 players currently on the roster, they certainly have some sorting to do, but when you take a look at the roster you can all but guarantee Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis are locks to make the final 53 Man Roster.

At most, one more player may make the Dallas Cowboys' opening day roster bringing the final total of cornerbacks to six. That is where former Florida State Seminole Marquez White must fight to earn his star.

White has some stiff competition ahead of him in Leon McFadden and Jeremiah McKinnon. Both of these players spent time on the active game-day roster last season as bottom-of-the-depth-chart type of guys. White showed flashes of being a very good player at Florida State, but never played at a consistently high level.

What the Cowboys could try to do is stash Marquez White on their practice squad, but that is a big risk to take, which may force them to go ahead and carry six CBs.

CB Position's Biggest Issue?

When you look at the talent of the players who will be forced to start or contribute early, it leaves me with little worry.

Nolan Carroll - Isn't a flashy or dominant player, but he does his job and creates turnovers. That's something this defense has been lacking for a very long time.

Orlando Scandrick - He is what he is. Scandrick is probably a top-10 slot CB in the league.

Anthony Brown - Brown is a question mark. He was great last year as a rookie after being drafted in the sixth round in 2016, and forced into playing time after injuries to Claiborne and Scandrick. Brown responded as well as he could, being a very solid player on the boundary and in the slot. The second year player shows no signs of slowing down and will look to fight for a full-time starting job at OTAs and Training Camp.

We have yet to see how Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis will handle the NFL level of play, but their college film shows that -- out of the slot -- both players were as good as they come. Both Awuzie and Lewis have the versatility to play as a nickel back or as a base corner along the boundary.

What worries me is that four of the five guys I talked about above are or played better in the slot than they did as a boundary CB. Anthony Brown played at a high level at both and I see him having little to no problem being a very productive starting CB in the Cowboys' base defense.

Where my worry comes into play most is with Orlando Scandrick and Jourdan Lewis. Orlando Scandrick played on the boundary quite a bit last year and, at times, really struggled. Scandrick plays his best when he's asked to do one job and that job is line up across from whoever the opposing team's slot receiver is and stick to him like glue.

Jourdan Lewis actually showed at Michigan that he can play along the boundary and do so at a high level. The problem comes in with Lewis' size. Lewis is listed at 5'10" 188 lbs but played like a giant at Michigan. If that translates to the NFL then my worries will go away. But as well all know, the NFL is a different beast. Slot receivers in the NFL are bigger, stronger, craftier, and faster.

Can Jourdan Lewis play for the Cowboys like the "alpha dog" he proved he was at Michigan? We'll have to find out.

Chidobe Awuzie was a Swiss army knife for the Colorado Buffaloes. Awuzie played on the boundary, in the slot, and even played some safety for his former team and played all the positions he was asked to play at an extremely high level. I trust Awuzie's ability to play on the boundary more due to size, instincts, and his ability to stay close to his man in coverage.

After watching Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox all leave in free agency, a lot of Cowboys fans worried how they would rebuild their secondary, or if they could do it at all.

There's no doubt about it that they brought in the fire power to do so, but they still need to show that they are ready for the bright lights on Sundays. The potential of this secondary is sky-high and every Cowboys fan should be ecstatic to see what they bring to the table in the 2017-2018 NFL Season.

Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for and Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

  • EverybodyTalks

    Instead of carrying 5 Safeties, you could carry 4. Those would be Xavier Wood, Kevon Frazier, Jeff Heath and Byron Jones. Now you can carry 6 Cbs (because you have 3 rookies). Your Swiss Army knife, Awuzie, as you stated, could play safety in a pinch. Byron Jones did the same thing his rookie year. You keep 6 LBs and 9 for the Defensive line. That’s 25 on Defense. That leaves 25 on offense, plus K,P and LS…53 !!

  • dallas1966

    The Cowboys secondary will be a much needed improvement from past Cowboys seasons, simply because of the infusion of youth. Remember the San Francisco 49’ers, started 3 rookies, in their secondary, in 1981, one became a Hall of Famer (Ronnie Lott). The Cowboys did the same that year as well, starting 2 undrafed free agents, the secondary. With the great Everson Walls, leading the Cowboys in interceptions, as a rookie, in 1981.

    I expect the Cowboys defense, to play head and shoulders above what the defense accomplish last few seasons, simply because of the infusion of youth, which will be playing faster and stronger, than prior years.

Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1
Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.

Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.

Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.

Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.

Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.

Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.

Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.

If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.

Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.

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Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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