Reel Talk: Is Byron Jones The Cowboys Best Defensive Player? ✭
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Reel Talk: Is Byron Jones The Cowboys Best Defensive Player?

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Reel Talk: Is Byron Jones The Cowboys Best Defensive Player?

Unlike 2016, the Dallas Cowboys were forced to pick late in the first round of the 2015 Draft following a 12-4 season. However, just as they did in 2016, the Cowboys made the absolute most out of their first round pick in 2015.

By selecting UCONN defensive back Byron Jones, the Cowboys knew they were getting an athletic monster. After his impressive day at the NFL Combine, Jones grabbed the attention of fans and draft pundits all over the football world.

What those people didn’t know, however, was how good of a football player that athletic defensive back was.

Jones has been a rock for the Cowboys secondary over the last season and a half. Last week in Pittsburgh, Jones continued to impress by playing possibly his best game yet. Byron Jones made plays all night, but there were three plays which stood out the most from his performance.


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The first time Big Ben and the Steelers tried Byron Jones would be one of their last. On their first two-point conversation attempt, Roethlisberger tries to throw a fade over Jones’ head. To create some confusion in the defense, the Steelers cross the two targets at the bottom of the screen, before throwing the fade to the same side.

Byron does an excellent job in coverage here, staying right on his man and not allowing him any room to breathe. Then, once he realizes the ball is away, Jones goes up and breaks up the pass to save the Cowboys a point. Textbook pass defense from Byron Jones.


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On the Steelers next trip to the red zone, they decide to let Le’veon Bell run it in for a touchdown. Byron Jones has different plans though, coming hard off the edge and stopping Bell for a two yard loss.

In designing this play, the Steelers figure if they can get the front 7 blocked, and get Bell one on one with the safety, they should have an easy score. Instead, Byron does a fantastic job of setting a hard edge, and now allowing Bell to get by him. This is just an incredible tackle by Bryon Jones to once again save the Cowboys points.


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Last but not least, Byron Jones makes a subtlety great play to force Antonio Brown out of bounds.

It looks like Pittsburgh had a run play called here, based off of the low-hats of the offensive linemen. Ben has the option to throw the quick screen out to Antonio Brown if he likes the match-up, however.

Seeing Brown one on one with Brandon Carr, Ben decides to give his All-Pro receiver a chance to make a play. At the top of the screen, Byron Jones reads and diagnoses the quick pass perfectly, and makes up about 15 yards of ground, getting downhill quickly and making the tackle.

Sure, it would’ve been nice to see Carr make the tackle for loss here, but the fact the Jones could get downhill and stop that receiver at the line of scrimmage is insane.

So far in his career, the interception numbers haven’t been there. This lack of interceptions gets perceived as a lack of big plays from Jones, which hurts his public perception among fans.

But Byron Jones is arguably the single most consistent player on the Cowboys entire defense. Week in and week out he plays incredibly, consistently being right in his coverage and making sure tackles. Hopefully, more fans around the league will realize just how good Byron Jones is.

Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the ‘boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • SmashMouthFootball

    B.Jones is definitely good. But not crazy good…

    He shadows his assignments well, and is hardly out of place. But better CBs n Safetys’ have been had for or at Cowboys what, 27th pick, 30th?!

    All good though. He’s good but there’s some CBs that could’ve also been placed at FSafety n done better.

    With this said, Cowboys have to draft better, or not allow Jerry to make knee-jerk picks like this. He panned out good, but he’s the same player in college if you will. He’s a great cover guy, with ability to defend passes. But not a complete CB or Safety with all around game. As in Ball Hawking, Angles n could have defended more balls n/or passes.

    But yes, “Good!”

    • Kevin Brady

      I agree that so far in his career, that ball-hawking ability has not been there. Hopefully, as he keeps playing his interception and “big play” numbers will improve. Even if they don’t, however, Byron Jones will still be a solid safety for Dallas for a long time. INT’s don’t tell the whole story either. if Jones had the balls fall into his lap the way Landon Collins has had this year, it would be a different story. Thanks for reading!

    • Andrew Thomas

      He’s a stalwart player that makes huge, huge plays. It wasn’t a “knee-jerk” pick, either. Connecticut has had a long lineage of exceptional safeties and cornerbacks come into the NFL, among other positions. He’s particularly tough and observant. This “what-if” conundrum you’re tangling yourself into is pointless.

  • Jonathan Cross

    Hello Brady,
    This was an interesting take on the former 2015 Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Byron Jones. First-round picks are chosen to provide quality results on the football field, which is why they can command top NFL dollar. Byron Jones is still developing and should have many years left.

    In my opinion, Byron Jones was worth the first round pick and more and I totally agree with you that we should soon see the interceptions coming more and more. He will soon show why he “wowed” scouts at the combine and flew up the draft board out of the University of Connecticut. He is finally getting playing time and should be getting comfortable in his defensive schemes. The cowboys should make the playoffs which means more opportunities to play and get picks etc. Basically, he could be peaking at just the right time in the season and be preparing to get hot. Nice article.

    • Andrew Thomas

      Connecticut has had tons of great players and even just current NFL players since going to Division I. They actually have a long list of exceedingly good cornerbacks and safeties.

  • Charles

    He is very good and love his versatility but until proven otherwise Sean Lee is the best defensive player on this team.

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