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

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Byron Jones post

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.

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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Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

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The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

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Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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