Dallas Cowboys: Why Chidobe Awuzie has legit Pro Bowl potential

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Chidobe Awuzie
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Chidobe Awuzie /

Here are some very legitimate reasons Chidobe Awuzie may be the first Pro Bowl cornerback the Dallas Cowboys have had since 2009.

It may not sound like a bold statement to say second year cornerback, Chidobe Awuzie, has Pro Bowl potential. But since the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had a cornerback voted into the Pro Bowl in nine years, the honor would be quite the accomplishment for this undistinguished unit.

Chidobe’s rookie season didn’t go exactly as planned. Injuries kept him off the field for roughly half of the season and when he did hit the field, it was trial by fire. We’ve seen this play out once before; In 2012, top-10 pick Morris Claiborne missed a significant portion of his rookie training camp, only to be ill-prepared and exposed when thrust into action.

When Chidobe was thrown into the deep end, he did not sink like the No. 24 that came before him.  Nope. Chidobe Awuzie swam. Making an instant impact on the field and offering the Dallas Cowboys legitimate hope for the future of the secondary.

How good was Chidobe?

Awuzie didn’t rack up the stats last season but his play was nothing short of spectacular for a rookie starter. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed the fewest yards per reception last season with a paltry 7.00.

Awuzie wasn’t just effective in stopping the big play, but he also showed some ball-hawking instincts playing the quarterback and turning his head (rather than just face-guarding like many conservative CBs do). Because of this, it stands to reason, with more experience and added aggression, the pass break-ups and interceptions are on the way.

In minicamp we saw the Dallas Cowboys place Awuzie on the left side. LCB, considered the premium cornerback spot, is a sure sign the Cowboys coaching staff thinks highly of their second-year player.

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Awuzie’s success is sustainable, as well. His technique and fluidity are among the best in the game. His supreme quickness and his oddly underrated speed (4.43 40-time) make him extra sticky in man coverage . But it’s his ability to blitz from the slot that may ultimately put him over the top. At Colorado, Awuzie blitzed often as a defensive back, collecting seven sacks over his last two seasons.

In case you haven’t noticed, Rod Marinelli loves to blitz his defensive backs. He may not blitz often, but when he does, it’s usually with an inside DB. With Orlando Scandrick now gone (Marinelli’s favorite blitzer), the door is open for Awuzie to assume the lead blitzing role.

What’s really working in Chidobe’s favor is what’s between the ears. Unlike many of the Dallas Cowboys’ previous cornerbacks, Awuzie is not fragile minded. His confidence and maturity are apparent and even in year two, he’s taking on a leadership role in this young secondary.

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Chidobe Awuzie has already established himself as a budding young star in the NFL, if he can stay healthy in his sophomore campaign we can expect him to compete for a Pro Bowl spot this winter.