The Dallas Cowboys defense is full of holes, this much was clear in 2020. But their young cornerbacks actually brought bright spots to an otherwise putrid unit.
Rookie Trevon Diggs, for example, shined at times, giving the fanbase hope for a better defensive future in Dallas.
Similarly, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, when healthy, was often one of those bright spots. If for no other reason than he's a competent player, something the unit seemed to lack in for much of the season.
Awuzie, a former second round pick by the Cowboys, now enters unrestricted free agency this Spring, and his future seems a bit murky. Dallas should look to retain him, especially considering how badly they need experience and athleticism on the outside.
But they could also very well be looking at Dak Prescott's looming deal, and a potential deal with Michael Gallup next offseason, as financial hinders to keeping Awuzie around. The Cowboys also hold a top ten pick in the first round, and are being linked to every high profile cornerback prospect.
Either way, others around the league will certainly covet Chidobe Awuzie in the open market. Pro Football Focus ranked the available free agents heading into the offseason, slotting Chidobe 42nd overall.
“After earning a coverage grade that ranks right in the middle of the league's corners since 2017, Awuzie epitomizes the league-average cornerback. He's done his best work in zone coverage, ranking in the 61st percentile in PFF grade, but he's in just the 35th percentile in single coverage. That matches our scouting report of Awuzie coming out of college, where he looked like an excellent fit in a zone scheme, and that's likely his best bet once again as he hits free agency.”
PFF's analysis on Awuzie seems fair. He's been about an average cornerback, but there's also value in being average at such an important position. For a while Awuzie seemed to always be in great coverage position but lacked the ball skills to make plays or break up passes. We thought this may change in the new defensive philosophy in 2020, but for the most part it didn't.
PFF predicts that Chidobe Awuzie will remain in Dallas on a three year deal, and personally I'd think this is the best case scenario.
Retain Chidobe Awuzie, develop Trevon Diggs, and add a legitimate CB1 through the NFL Draft. This is the way.