The Dallas Cowboys had their eyes set on either Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn in the NFL Draft to pair with Trevon Diggs to form a starting duo at cornerback for the foreseeable. Once both went off the board just before the 10th overall pick, the Cowboys hit the reset button at the cornerback position.
It didn't take long for them to bring in a promising young talent. With the 44th pick in the second round, the Cowboys selected Kelvin Joseph out of Kentucky. Joseph is a first-round caliber player, but questions about his commitment to the game allowed him to slide down draft boards. He has all the God-given ability to be an effective cornerback in the NFL, but his road to being a starter in Dallas will have some challenges.
The first speed bump on this journey is the lack of time on the field Joseph has seen so far. He missed a portion of OTAs due to a 10-day quarantine. He was cleared for minicamp but reportedly didn't show up in the best shape. He vowed to be ready once training camp commences next week. However, it's not the ideal start for the rookie.
Another obstacle in Joseph's way was drafted one round after he heard his name called, Nahshon Wright. Although he was a much-maligned selection at the time being, Wright hit the ground running in OTAs and minicamp and looked far more impressive than Joseph. At 6'4, Wright moves very fluently, more like a 5'10-6'0 guy. Also, he has 4.4 speed which makes him a very intriguing player, and one Joseph won't have an easy time surpassing.
Diggs will be the Cowboy's CB1, and Jourdan Lewis will more than likely be the starting nickel cornerback after signing a three-year deal worth up the $16.5 million. That still leaves plenty of additional competition for Joseph for the CB2 spot besides Wright. Anthony Brown, who is currently favored to be the Week 1 starter opposite Diggs, won't give up his spot without a fight, especially after signing a three-year, $15.5 million deal this offseason.
2020 fourth-round pick Reggie Robinson will have something to say about who gets snaps at cornerback as well. After going back to his old high school position at safety, where he didn't look comfortable, Robinson is switching back to his natural position at cornerback. His 4.44 speed, ability to play in press man or zone, and excellent ball skills (had 34 pass breakups in college) make him a real threat to push Joseph in this cornerback competition.
The Cowboys spent high draft capital on Joseph which means they saw something in him to believe he can contribute early. However, in the NFL, everything is earned not given. He's slightly behind the eight ball and facing stiff competition to see the field, which makes his performance in training camp and the preseason vital to his chances of seeing significant playing time in 2021.