Anthony Brown, Cornerback
This offseason, the Cowboys lost three starters in their defensive backfield to free agency. Longtime veterans like cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne were all allowed to leave in part to the excellent play of rookie corner Anthony Brown last season.
A sixth round selection out of Purdue, Brown gets lost in the luster of last year’s legendary draft class that included big home run hitters like running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, quarterback Dak Prescott. But the former Boilermaker could have been the real steal of that touted class.
Pressed into a starting role last season due to another in a long line of injuries suffered by former first round bust Mo Claiborne, Brown surprised everyone with his consistent play and poise as a rookie. He recorded 55 total tackles, eight pass defends and an interception in nine starts in 2016.
A bit lost in the shuffle of the offseason, with new free agent signee Nolan Carroll plus high draft selections in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis being added to the cornerback depth chart, Brown reminded everyone of what a steal he was last season by recording a game-sealing interception against Eli Manning and the Giants on Sunday night.