The Dallas Cowboys began 2017 with questions on the future of their cornerback position. Going into 2018, the future looks bright.
In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys began an overhaul of their cornerback position. With current Washington Redskins cornerback Orlando Scandrick‘s release and former safety Byron Jones‘ move to corner, the overhaul is complete.
With the high volume passing nature of the NFL, the Cowboys will be in their nickel (three cornerbacks) and dime (four cornerbacks) packages more than their base package with only two corners.
The new look cornerback group opening day will most likely be Jones and Chidobe Awuzie on the outside, with Jourdan Lewis in as the slot corner in the nickel package; and Anthony Brown sliding in as the other slot in the dime package.
With 2017 sixth-round pick Marquez White and undrafted free agent Duke Thomas flashing last year before spending the season developing on the practice squad, reports have indicated they are ready to take the fifth and sixth corner roles as special team contributors and insurance policies for the four guys above them. The Cowboys should feel good about their depth, talent, youth, and athleticism entering 2018.
As the roster stands today, I believe the cornerback group will be one of the strengths of the team and will be amongst the top ten if not top seven in the league. That is something fans have not seen in decades. Last year though, the Cowboys came closer than you’d expect.
In 2016, the Cowboys had the 26th ranked pass defense, in 2017 they had the 11th. In an offseason where both starting outside corners departed, only to be replaced by a washed up Nolan Carroll, a 2016 sixth-rounder slot man in Brown, and rookie second and third rounders; the secondary was still able to finish right outside the top ten.
An 11th place finish despite soft-tissue injuries ravaging the rookie defensive backs, an ineffective Nolan Carroll in the first quarter of the season, and an out-of-position Anthony Brown. In fact, the Cowboys best group was not able to play together until week 13.