Many mock drafts predict the Dallas Cowboys will spend their top pick on a defensive back. There are three reasons it will be at cornerback.
It’s no secret the Dallas Cowboys need immediate help in their defensive backfield. Most mock drafts realize this and are leaning this direction. While safety has been a burning desire of the fan base, the signs point more towards a corner.
The Cowboys only have two corners with starting experience on the roster. A quality NFL defense needs four capable corners. With three often on the field together, a defense with only three worthy corners is an injury away from catastrophe.
While there will be an elite safety available at Pick 17, there are three significant reasons a top corner may get the nod instead.
MORE COSTLY POSITION
It will cost a pretty penny for Dallas to secure a starting caliber corner in free agency. With big contracts on the horizon for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, the Cowboys must add a very talented rookie player at a costly, high profile position.
2019 starter Byron Jones‘ market value will exceed his worth to the Dallas front office on Day One of free agency. I once felt Anthony Brown was a likely re-sign, but rumblings from the Cowboys home site are signaling the team has low interest.
Dallas needs to save money somewhere at a big money position to offset coming, hefty offensive investments. Selecting a prized rookie corner would fit that mold.
HISTORY NOT KIND TO SAFETY
Sure there is a new coaching staff, but the front office remains the same. The trio of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Will McClay have been allergic to spending a valuable draft pick at safety.
McClay joined the organization and scouting department in 2009. No safety has been drafted before the third round since. Most recently, Kavon Frazier (2016), Xavier Woods (2017), and Donovan Wilson (2019) were all drafted in the sixth round.
Jones was a first round pick and played safety as a rookie. But he was initially drafted to play corner and moved out of necessity and fit. While the need at safety has been lingering for years, it’s hard to see past philosophy changing so drastically.
STARTERS ON BORROWED TIME
Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were drafted in 2017. Both starting corners will become free agents after next season. The 2021 roster currently has zero starter quality corners under contract. The necessity to replenish at corner is immediate.
Not only is the alarm sounding to replenish, but it also must be done by other means besides hefty veteran extensions. If the two secondary draftees are close in talent, it makes more sense to select an elite corner at Pick 17 at a favorable rookie price.