While filling the wholes of their depleted defensive backfield, the Dallas Cowboys 2017 draft selections raises more questions than answers.
The Dallas Cowboys lost four key pieces of their 2016 defensive backfield when they let cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox walk in free agency. All four players received contracts from other teams that the Cowboys were unwilling to match.
While seeing so many leave was disturbing, it was a justifiable move from The Cowboys perspective. None of these former players were “difference makers.”
With only the signing of free agents like cornerback Nolan Carroll and safety Robert Blanton to restock the defensive backfield, the Cowboys entered the 2017 draft with a definite eye towards both positions, as they used four of their nine selections on defensive backs.
But did Dallas do enough to upgrade their roster from last year?
The first two defensive backs selected, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, both project more strongly as nickel/slot corners rather than true cover cornerbacks. In the sixth round, Dallas selected Xavier Woods, a solid prospect for strong safety, but by no means a lock for the job.
Finally, the Cowboys selected Florida State cornerback Marquez White with one of their two sixth round picks, a player with the dreaded word developmental attached to his scouting report.
I believe these players fall under the category of versatile more than specialists.
Adding these rookies and free agents to Cowboys veterans like cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown along with safeties Jeff Heath, Byron Jones, Kavon Frazier brings them back to a healthy number of options. But who will land in the game day starting lineup? And a more puzzling question: where will each line up?
Byron Jones seems to be a lock for the starting free safety spot. Scandrick would seem to be the best bet for a game day cover corner, although he has always excelled in the slot. While Carroll was brought in for veteran depth, this leaves at least two starting spots in the defensive backfield a mystery.
By now we should all have great trust in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys scouting department. Although the drafting of quarterback Dak Prescott last year would seem to be a fluke win by the Dallas brass, they have definitely changed their style of drafting over the last few years for the better.
It’s all speculation this early into the process, but did the Dallas Cowboys do enough to upgrade their secondary? Who do you project as the game day starting four defensive backs (and primary nickelback) for the Cowboys? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.