Does anyone know where current safety Byron Jones fits in the Dallas Cowboys defensive secondary? It’s a frustrating question for a former first rounder.
Drafted 27th overall in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cowboys used Jones all over their defensive secondary his rookie season. The following year, Dallas finally cemented him at safety. But two full seasons at that position has yielded mediocre results.
Having set the World Record at the broad jump during the Scouting Combine, Jones is a unbelievable athlete. But that athleticism hasn’t translated into success on the field as it appears the 25-year old has next to no football instincts.
At 6-0, 205 pounds, Jones’ slight frame makes him a liability as a tackler. And although he possess the speed to be a playmaker, his lack of instincts have resulted in just two career interceptions in three years. The fact he has hands of stone doesn’t help.
Although Jones has worked really hard to overcome his deficiencies, it doesn’t appear the Cowboys will elect to pick up his fifth-year option for 2019, making him a free agent after next season. Which is really disappointing for a former first rounder with his high character traits.
Where Jones has excelled is covering tight ends. And moving him to a position solely responsible for doing so may be the answer.
"“Byron to some degree is a victim of his many skills. We believe he can be a press corner. We believe he can be a free safety,” Stephen Jones told The Ben and Skin show on 105.3 FM The Fan via the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously his strong point is not playing down. At the same time, Jeff Heath is more of a deep safety in terms of what complements his skill set … The one really unique thing about Byron is he’s really got great skills to cover tight ends and big receivers. So this is a work in progress for us in seeing where all these guys fit.”"
At this point, I think everyone knows Byron Jones isn’t a very good NFL safety. He doesn’t possess the instincts or the tackling ability to be a strong safety. And he isn’t the rangy, playmaking free safety Dallas needs patrolling the middle of the field.
Jones is a specialty defensive back, who can cover tight ends and taller, slower wide receivers. It’s a niche’ position, probably best defined as a cornerback. And likely not one you draft in the first round or pick up a fifth-year option for.
With true safeties like Kavon Frazier and Xavier Woods waiting in the wings, it’s time the Dallas Cowboys surrendered when it comes to Jones at safety. He appears to excel at only one thing, and he’s average to below average at everything else.
So far this season, Jones has recorded 64 total tackles, four pass defends and one interception for a defensive touchdown in 12 games.
Byron Jones should no longer be protected by his draft status. And I believe the fact Kavon Frazier replaced him at times during last week’s victory over the Washington Redskins is a sign the Cowboys coaching staff feels the same.