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Trevon Diggs Needs Help as Cowboys Build 2021 CB Depth Chart

Trevon Diggs was a rare bright spot among the Dallas Cowboys’ new players last season. He will be back in 2021 as a starting cornerback, but he’s going to need some help for Dallas’ secondary to restore solvency. Our Position Preview series look at the CB position and the potential for big changes this offseason.

Since 2017 the Cowboys have been waiting on Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, 2nd and 3rd-round picks that year, to develop into reliable long-term starters. But now we’ve reached the end of their rookie contracts with neither establishing themselves as fixtures.

If Chido and Jourdan were to depart as free agents, that would leave only Diggs and Anthony Brown as proven cornerbacks under contract. In the modern NFL where your third CB is essentially a starter, that’s a shaky situation for any team hoping to be a contender.

2021 Cornerback Contract Statuses

  • Signed
    • Anthony Brown
    • Deante Burton
    • Maurice Canady
    • Trevon Diggs
    • Kemon Hall
    • Rashard Robinson
    • Saivion Smith
  • Free Agents
    • Chidobe Awuzie (U)
    • C.J. Goodwin (U)
    • Jourdan Lewis (U)
U = Unrestricted, R = Restricted, E = Exclusive Rights

By giving Anthony Brown about $5 million per season in last year’s new contract, Dallas appeared to be planning for this offseason and expecting to lose at least one of Awuzie or Lewis. You don’t pay a cornerback that kind of money unless you project that he’ll be one of the top three.

That could give us an idea of what the Cowboys intend to do with the 2021 offseason; trust Brown and Diggs as starters and add at least one more player to the mix.

Though neither panned out as great cornerbacks, Awuzie or Lewis could still return next year as a potential free safety option. That would also keep them in the mix at CB should Dallas not find an upgrade.

Another player to watch is Maurice Canady, who sat out last season under the COVID-10 policy. His one-year contract was deferred to 2021 and he has the size that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn seems to like his his cornerbacks. Canady was expected to complete for a major role in 2020 and may get that opportunity now.

However, none of this precludes the Cowboys from making cornerback and major priority in free agency or the draft.

Cowboys Draft Target: Alabama Crimson Tide CB Patrick Surtain II
CB Patrick Surtain II, 2021 Draft Prospect

Dallas could very well use their 10th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to land an elite CB prospect. One or both of Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II may be there when the Cowboys are on the clock.

Both Farley and Surtain are big-bodied prototypes who would pair nicely with Trevon Diggs in the starting lineup. While Dallas has several potential uses for their 1st-round pick, this is one spot where few should find cause for complaint.

But the top three at cornerback isn’t the only concern. Dallas may also need to look at depth as the likes of Deante Burton, Rashard Robinson, and Saivion Smith aren’t exactly inspiring.

A potential underrated loss would be if veteran C.J. Goodwin were to leave this offseason. One of the best special teams players in the league, Goodwin has done more to affect games the last few years than most backups.

We could see last year’s 4th-round pick, Reggie Robinson, move back to CB after Mike Nolan’s regime converted him to safety. But no matter what secondary position he plays, Robinson may help replace Goodwin’s special teams duties based on his athleticism and past work from college.

Clearly, cornerback is a big topic for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. They appear to have struck gold with Trevon Diggs but are now dealing with the lack of development from previous draft picks. This could lead to a lot of player movement this offseason.

~ ~ ~

Other Cowboys 2021 Position Previews

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | C | G

DE | DT | LB | S

Special Teams

(Click the position above to jump to the article. Links will become active as articles are published.)

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. Hey Jess, here is my take. Dallas needs to fix both lines first before worrying about a (high pick) DB. It was painfully obvious last season both sides of the line (men) have issues, those starting and with the depth. Its not sexy but the ideal draft is a trade back in the first round picking up a second plus and drafting O line and D line where possible. Now you say well Surtain or Farley will be there… Neither are top 10 worthy, both have holes. This is not a deep draft for “elite” players but offers an awful lot of 2nd tier players who just might become elite if not significant starters. I can name many O lineman worthy and many D lineman worthy at the end of round 1, 2, 3 and probably 4 that I’m sure your aware of so I won’t bore you. Late I like the LSU CB Vincent who has jets and projected to be a nickel, only because of his size and Hawkins Louisville, he has jets as well and is what the NFL is now at the position (among others). Both opted out and i think you can get them later in the draft. Players that should go: Gallup needs to be traded pre draft, I can’t see him settling for peanuts on his new contract-deal and he will walk. Zeke,…. I hope Jerry finally learned his lesson but probably not. There is no trade partner out there for Zeke, all teams see the same thing. Dallas is stuck until 2022 with that RB. Hopefully Zeke has a little more fire next season. Jaylon is a great story but….LVE I’m afraid he will be the next S Lee. To finish it up, it starts upfront and until Dallas has a dominate O and D line they are in trouble. Forgive any misspelling!

  2. ROBERT- I don’t agree with everything u said but good post. You did ur homework. Accurate assessment on SMITH/LVE/ZEKE. I agree that building from the trenches out is a sound approach.

    I still expect Jerry will pick a CB with the #10 pick. But I also agree that none of the CBs coming out appear to be elite necessarily. I will say that we need some true difference makers on defense. Need to be careful not to reach for need and pass up superior talent at a position that is perceived as less of a need.

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