Going into the 2021 NFL Draft, cornerback was the most glaring need for the Dallas Cowboys. They had Trevon Diggs on the one side but needed to hit on cornerback with a premium pick to feel comfortable about their other outside cornerback spot.
Yes, the team has Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown, but both of those players project as slot cornerbacks, and there’s been a lot of talk about Lewis transitioning to safety.
What’s a better tradition, Jerry Jones hyping up the Cowboys Super Bowl chances or Cowboys Nation moving corners to safety?
After the board didn’t fall the way the Dallas Cowboys expected and missed out on Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain, the Cowboys were left with a plan B option in Micah Parsons. Not that he’s a bad option, but it’s clear from their comments after the draft that the plan was to take one of the cornerbacks.
After they missed out on one of the top two cornerbacks in round one, it was obvious where the Cowboys would go with the 44th overall pick in the draft, and that was cornerback. Enter Kelvin Joseph into the chat.
Joseph is an intriguing talent with good size and ball skills but with limited experience in college after transferring from LSU to Kentucky. Joseph’s foray into hip hop production turned some coaches off, believing he wasn’t committed to football because apparently college athletes aren’t allowed to have outside interests.
Kelvin Joseph played in 15 college games, six as a freshman in 2018, before playing in nine with Kentucky in 2020. In that 2020 season, Joseph had four interceptions, one he returned for a touchdown and a pass deflection.
Per Pro Football Focus, his best games last year were against Tennessee, where he had the pick-6, against Alabama, where Joseph locked down Devonta Smith, and against Mississippi State. He received coverage grades of 76 or above in these three games, with a high of 91.6 against Tennessee.
Though he’s still a bit raw as a player, he has all the tools in the box for Al Harris to work with to develop his game at the NFL level. His length, burst, and instincts combined with confidence make him a player with the upside to be a true lockdown corner. He’ll need to refine some of the processing aspects of his game, so he doesn’t fall for double moves put on by the elite route runners of the NFL.
Because the options at corner aren’t great, the Cowboys need to throw caution to the wind and let Joseph learn on the job. There will be some growing pains, but Joseph should get more comfortable and learn from any early-season struggles he might experience as the season progresses.
The Dallas Cowboys need to become more consistent in taking the ball away, and Joseph’s ability to play the football in the air and create turnovers should get him on the field right away. For the Cowboys to get where they want to go, they need improved play from their defense and their cornerback group, and Kelvin Joseph has the opportunity to be an impact player from day one.