It was a foregone conclusion that the Dallas Cowboys were going to put resources into the cornerback position in the NFL Draft. After they missed out on Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn in the first round, they snagged Kelvin Joseph with the 44th overall pick in the second round, and big expectations followed.
The former Kentucky Wildcat got off to a bit of a slow start during OTAs due to a 10-day quarantine for COVID-19 which allowed fellow rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright to outshine him. However, with training camp in Oxnard, California in fill swing, Joseph seems to be turning a corner as he competes for early playing time.
“I had to quarantine, so I just took some time to really just being in my playbook and take time to come back better and stronger and faster,” Joseph said. “It wasn't a setback, probably just a setback with being away from my team. As far my plays, it really helped me so I could really focus in and not really have to worry too much on the outside.”
The Cowboy's defense had a big day in Tuesday's practice. Trevon Diggs had an interception in the red zone during 11-on-11 action. 2020 opt-out Maurice Canady snagged one, and Damontae Kazee had a pick-six.
Joseph hasn't been one to be left out though. He made a nice play on a go route to Noah Brown over the weekend and also did a good job sticking with undrafted free-agent Osirus Mitchell on a fade pattern on Tuesday.
After Tuesday's practice, the youngster showed unwavering confidence in himself and his teammates in the secondary by making this proclamation.
“We're going to fly around,” Joseph said. “No-fly zone. We're gonna call it airplane mode.
“When y'all drop this interview, tell them, ‘Cowboys defense,' Kelvin Joseph says, ‘airplane mode.' You can't throw. No-fly zone.”
Joseph has the right to have some pep in his step these days. Not only is he making plays but he's seen work on the outside and in the slot during training camp, showing a bit of versatility to his game. The coaching staff is recognizing his efforts as well. Head Coach Mike McCarthy mentioned the good start he's off to and how comfortable he's looked on the field. Also, after reportedly not being in the best shape during the spring, Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn praised his conditioning coming into Oxnard.
There's nothing like healthy competition amongst teammates and training is the perfect time for it. Joseph talked recently about the competitive nature that's existed between the secondary and the wide receivers so far.
“Oh, yeah, there's trash talk every day,” Joseph said. “We feel like we just go out and dominate against the wide receivers every day.
“We got to. That's our standard. That's how we come out. That's our practice mindset. We make them better. They make us better.”
Playing in the NFL is a special privilege that a lot of football players don't get to experience. Joseph seems to understand how fortunate he is to be in the position he's in.
“It's a blessing just to be here. It's everything I expected,” Joseph said. “Putting in work, bonding with my teammates.”
There's a lot of positive energy around Joseph and it appears to be bringing out the talent that everyone knows he has. Now, it's just about him continuing the grind and earning the star on his helmet.