Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets: 7 cornerbacks in 7 different rounds

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Jourdan Lewis #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Jourdan Lewis #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /
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Harrison Hand, Cornerback (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Harrison Hand, Temple

Round Grade: 6th Round

Value: Reach

Percentage Available: 100%

The fellow Temple product started his collegiate football career in Waco, Texas. After three years, he transferred to the previous coaching spot of then Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. In Philly, he had a starting role as an outside corner and it ended with mixed results.

Statistically, 2019 was Hand’s best season. In twelve games, the Owl had over 40 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions, and five pass deflections. It sounds fine until you watch just how easily he would allow big completions. There is a reason his three interceptions only resulted in eight return yards. He made the majority of his plays near the line of scrimmage.

Hand has the physical tools that teams would like in an outside cornerback. Even though he is 5-foot-11, he weighs 197 pounds and has almost 32 inch arms. That is good size for a cornerback and you can see his physicality on display with some booming hits. (He only recorded 1 forced fumble but it seemed like more)

He is also a very explosive athlete. At the scouting combine, he had a vertical jump of 41 inches and a broad jump of 133 inches. While not as fast, he completed the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. (Number is still under the 4.55 threshold teams look for) However, Hand didn’t run particularly well in the agility drills recording a 7.15-second 3-cone drill and a 4.27-second short shuttle.

Those slower agility times come as no surprise when watching him play.

In press-man coverage, Hand is an effective jammer at the line of scrimmage. However, he isn’t able to keep up with the agility of his receivers as they try to get off the line of scrimmage. Any time he is forced to change direction his hips flip relatively slowly. It is a fairly serious issue if your outside cornerback keeps allowing opposing offenses to complete slants for first downs.

Even when forced to go deep, Hand looks like he struggles to keep up with his receiver. If the receiver forces him to travel in the opposite direction he was facing, they can create separation by simply changing direction quicker than him.

Hand, however, does possess some solid instincts in zone. When spot dropping near the line of scrimmage, he uses his physicality to disrupt receivers’ routes. In general, he can keep track of the quarterback’s eyes and it allows him to make plays on the ball. (Given his relatively stiff hips, a lot of that is his zone instincts)

As a pattern matcher, he doesn’t always have the right type of leverage on his receivers. Hand played against many fast receivers in the AAC. Even in zone coverage, he wouldn’t win his leverage battle and it resulted in a lot of completions down the middle of the field. The Owl played in a healthy mix of Cover 3 and Cover 4, but his lack of game speed and hip stiffness can be very problematic when he is left to cover the middle of the field by himself.

It is safe to say Temple’s defensive coordinator had more faith in his defensive backs than he should have.  Throw in his inconsistent tackling and it begs the question why?

So after all of this, why would Hand fit the Cowboys? With the team switching to a Quarters approach, the cornerbacks won’t be asked to play with the same range as they once did under defensive backs coach Kris Richard. This would be a good thing for cornerbacks like Hand who struggle to move in all directions.

Hand could continue to use his physicality to disrupt receivers, but this would also require some technical development in regards to his running ability. I believe if he worked on loosening his lower body, he could make for an interesting depth piece on the team. After all, he knows how to use his hands fairly well for a raw prospect.