Dallas Cowboys Draft: Why C.J. Henderson may not be the CB1 they need

CJ Henderson (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CJ Henderson (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys need to add a true No. 1 cornerback to help them compete this season but even if the draft falls in their favor, the CB they find may not be good enough to win in ’20

With Byron Jones gone, the Dallas Cowboys are desperately in need of a top-flight cornerback this offseason. With no viable options in free agency, the general feeling around Cowboys Nation is the Cowboys will turn to the 2020 NFL Draft to address the need.

If they don’t find a true CB1 to match-up against the NFL’s elite receivers, 2020 could be a tough season to handle. While the Dallas Cowboys hold out hope Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown take the next step in their development, their struggles last season can’t be overlooked and banking on one of them to suddenly become a true CB1 may be a little unrealistic.

From a needs perspective, the Dallas Cowboys don’t just need a cornerback. They need a true No. 1 cornerback. Because of their overwhelming desire to win-now, fans have been enamored with the cornerback position early in the draft. Picking one early feel like an absolute must if the Dallas Cowboys want to make noise in the playoffs, right?


None of the cornerbacks available are going to solve the Cowboys CB1 issues THIS season. So why should Dallas skip over the best player available in order to draft for need, when the only players they pick won’t fill the need at CB1?

The Dallas Cowboys need a CB1. A CB1 that can be a CB1 from Day 1. That’s not an easy thing to find and I’d argue there’s only one player in the 2020 draft who can be expected to be that guy and he’s probably off the board in the first five selections of the draft. The most realistic option for the Dallas Cowboys at Pick 17 is going to be C.J. Henderson (but even that’s a stretch since Atlanta needs a CB as well). If C.J. is gone, then some believe it should be next cornerback up on the Cowboys draft list. And if none are worthy at pick 17, then Dallas needs to trade back and pick up CB later in the round. The point is everyone is forcing CB with the first pick or two.

The problem is, none of these options are going to solve the Cowboys CB1 issues this season. So why would they be so willing to skip over the best player available in order to draft for need, when the player they pick doesn’t even fulfill the need?

C.J. Henderson has the ability to be an elite CB one day, but he’s technically an inconsistent (undisciplined) coverman who’s so dang gifted he plays lazy from time to time. He’s often an unwilling tackler and likely isn’t ready to step into that lead role in Year 1. In other words, he doesn’t fulfill the need this year. And that’s what everyone is trying to do right now — fill the immediate need.

Fans are looking at the Cowboys roster and trying to replace Byron so the team can compete this season. But there isn’t a clear player who can replace Byron so maybe we should just admit winning this season is going to be tough and we’re better served drafting the best player available.

That means not forcing cornerback early.

Now, the Cowboys still need to draft cornerback(s) this year. With Chido and Jourdan both likely to leave in free agency next year, the situation is about to get ugly and Dallas needs to start the grooming process now.  But it’s not worth reaching on or passing over better players early in the draft.

Even if C.J. Henderson makes it to Pick 17, I’m not sure he’s the best pick to make. If one of the top receivers are on the board or K’Lavon Chaisson or even Javon Kinlaw is there, one of them may be the better pick (all of whom are higher rated players on many boards).

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C.J. Henderson only seems like the ideal solution because the Cowboys have a dire need in 2020, but outside of Jeff Okudah, I’m not sure anyone fits the bill. Next offseason there’s a handful of elite free agent CBs capable of filling the Cowboys CB1 on Day 1. Guys like Desmond King, Jalen Ramsey, Patrick Peterson, William Jackson, Kevin King, and Shaquill Griffin are all set to hit the market. They may be worth waiting for. It’s not worth over-drafting a player or passing over better players.

It may sound like I’m preemptively giving up on this season but I’m really not. I’m simply saying the Dallas Cowboys made their bed when they let Byron Jones leave without a replacement in place. Now they have to lay in that bed. It would only make things worse if the Cowboys drafted according to this self-induced need. If a CB1 is the best player on their board – great – draft him. But don’t pass over better players to do so.

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C.J. Henderson appears to be a great prospect with elite potential but he’s going to need some work to become a true No. 1 CB and he can’t be relied on to fill the Cowboys CB1 role immediately in 2020. No one can. Draft accordingly.

  • Published on 04/03/2020 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 04/03/2020 at 19:28 PM