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Numbers at Cornerback Will Provide Answers for Dallas Cowboys

When the Dallas Cowboys lost Byron Jones to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, it was a massive blow to a defensive backfield that didn’t have a lot of depth or a player that was ready to step into a lead cornerback role. Though many attempt to discredit Jones because he didn’t get a lot of interceptions during his five-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys, his coverage was a huge part of what made them successful on defense.

This offseason hasn’t provided a direct answer to who will replace Jones in the starting cornerback group. Still, the Dallas Cowboys have worked overtime, attempting to find adequate replacements for the cornerback group. The competition will be hot and heavy this Summer (if the NFL has offseason practices and training camp) as the depth at cornerback is pretty impressive.

Let’s take a quick look at the cornerbacks they’ll take into the Summer with the number of snaps played in the NFL per Pro Football Focus.

  • Daryl Worley – 3,556 snaps from 2016-2019
  • Anthony Brown – 3,186 snaps from 2016-2019
  • Chidobe Awuzie – 2,573 snaps from 2017-2019
  • Jourdan Lewis – 1,806 snaps from 2017-2019
  • Maurice Canady – 1,216 snaps from 2016-2019
  • C.J. Goodwin – 1,196 snaps from 2014-2019
  • Trevon Diggs – Rookie Second Round Pick
  • Reggie Robinson – Rookie Fourth Round Pick
  • Saivion Smith – Practice Squad Player in 2019
  • Chris Westry – Practice Squad Player in 2019

In addition to re-signing Anthony Brown and C.J. Goodwin in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys added five cornerbacks to the depth chart this offseason. The signed Daryl Worley, Maurice Canady, and Saivion Smith in free agency and drafted Trevon Digs and Reggie Robinson.

The goal has been apparent from the beginning.

Mike Nolan, Maurice Linguist, and Al Harris have been trying to find cornerbacks that are big, fast, and aggressive. Each of those additions will have an opportunity to carve out a role with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and beyond.

The three most experienced Dallas Cowboys, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown, have been put on notice. Awuzie and Lewis, in particular, are entering a contract year and will need to hold off the completion that’s been brought onto the roster. With a new coaching staff in place, there’s no guarantee that holdovers from the 2019 roster will make the 2020 roster.

Trevon Diggs is the rookie with the best chance to start in year one. Aside from Chidobe Awuzie and Daryl Worley, the Cowboys don’t have a player with a ton of experience as outside cornerbacks. Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis have done most of their work from the slot, though both have enough coverage skills to help you on the outside.

There’s been talk of moving either Chidobe Awuzie, Daryl Worley, or Reggie Robinson to safety, or at least a more hybrid defensive back role. Each of these players played multiple positions in the secondary during their time in college, and Worley spent a lot of last year playing safety in Oakland late in the season. Awuzie spent a considerable amount of time as a box safety and slot corner while at Colorado. That versatility may help him get on the field in the event he’s unable to maintain his starting spot as one of the two outside cornerbacks.

Because of the depth, there aren’t any clear answers to the questions at cornerback. However, the competition that’ll take place will help to clarify what the Dallas Cowboys will do with their secondary in 2020. The competition is going to be hot and heavy, and that competition will provide the answers at the cornerback spot.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. I’m disappointed when I see staffs let good players go because they don’t have the measurables of others who have acheived less. Lewis has done enough to earn a spot on this team, and at a minimum, he should be considered the starting slot guy. He does’t have the height or length of the others but he’s the only guy who can be considered a playmaker … and that should carry more weight than a couple of inches!

    • Lewis has been ok, but I thin he’s in a similar spot to most backup players. The one we see less is often the one we pine for more because of hope and optimism that they can be better than what is out there.

      • Particularly when they show a penchant for play-making that the others haven’t (despite the increased opportunities to do so) …

  2. I agree Bill, BUT what I believe the real deal with Lewis is that he has an attitude problem and that his talent/ability outweighs his maturity. I Like the kid and hope that he takes this new opportunity with this new staff and stake his claim and take a starting spot @ CB. I can see Awuzie @ Box Safety or Hybrid. Chidobe has done pretty good and we all have to say he has stayed healthy thru out his 3 yrs at Big D. Looking forward to this year and what all of this change does for us and where it takes us!

  3. Many of the issues that I hear with the secondary(& from Bryan Broaddus, the LBrs) from last year were the fault of Kris Richard.
    Tech-wise, I can believe that. W/ Re to holding plrys accountable, I’m not sure that was Kris’ fault. As far as this season goes? A new staff brings a whole new set of challenges as both sides try to figure each other out.
    Since the secondary is the biggest ? On the team Mike and Al have their work cut out for them but something tells me Cowboys Nation better get used to a gambling, aggressive secondary. Hopefully that results in a much better TD to turnover ratio this year.

  4. I think we had a good free agency, I’m stoked about the players we added, it’s definitely the revamp we needed and we’ll see in crunch time how it unfolds!

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