Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman (11) runs after a reception against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
When the 2015 NFL draft took place at the end of April, the start of the season seemed a lifetime away. Yet here we are approaching mid October with the rookies a quarter of the way through their first year of professional football. How many of the players the Dallas Cowboys spent picks on are still within the team; and just how have they fared?
Round 1: Byron Jones, CB
With concerns over Brandon Carr and former first round pick Mo Claiborne, it was no surprise to see the Cowboys look for reinforcements by taking another defensive back in the first. When Orlando Scandrick was rule out for the year the need for the pick to work out was intensified.
Preseason debates raged as to where Jones would best fit the team. At corner back where the Cowboys were desperate for talent; or at safety where fans have long wanted the team to improve on the current options of J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church.
"“I believe that you will see Byron Jones as the future safety in this defense just because of how difficult it is to find that position. His ability to cover and finish will one day make him a very valuable player.” – Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com"
The rookie out of U-Conn has been quietly efficient in his opening 5 games. Despite the expected but still disappointing loss to the Patriots, Jones is one of few players to come out of the game having impressed. He limited three time Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski to just four receptions for 67 yards and guaranteed he left the game scoreless- something that was unthinkable heading into the meeting.
Off the field Jones is like a younger Jason Garrett; talking about the process and doing the right thing. Character wise he’s the right kind of guy, and his approach to each game regardless of position to play or personnel to cover has been flawless.
"“He’s a very good athlete, he’s a mature guy and he hasn’t shied away from anything, he always goes at 100 percent. He’s not tentative, he’s not shy. He’s a physical player who’s got some ability. So he’s learning as he goes but he’s capable of doing a lot of things and I think his approach has been really good.” Jason Garrett on Byron Jones"
Jones isn’t standing out in games and that’s a good thing. Too often in recent years as Cowboys fans we’ve been cursing Carr or cringing about Claiborne. For us to be getting through games without being flummoxed by a cornerback is quite something!
Maybe Jones hasn’t flashed in the way a receiver, running back, defensive end or linebacker would taken in the first round it’s very hard to criticize him. He could develop into a key element of this Cowboys future.
Next: Randy Gregory