Dallas Cowboys: 3 Reasons Chidobe Awuzie will be a good safety

Chidobe Awuzie #24 of the dallas cowboys (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Chidobe Awuzie #24 of the dallas cowboys (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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dallas cowboys
Chidobe Awuzie #24 of the dallas cowboys (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

3. Chido hasn’t established himself at CB

Let’s be honest, this wouldn’t even be conversation if Chido was doing great at cornerback. Cornerback is the premium position and cornerback has the clear hole at CB1 now that Byron Jones is gone. But Awuzie just hasn’t developed there these past three seasons – at least not as a boundary CB.

Pro Football Focus rated Chido’s play last year as the 20th in the league. I think a lot of fans would beg to differ. The thing is, PFF grades coverage together with run-stopping and Chido’s dominant run-stopping score boosted his overall rating.

Chido was top-10 in run defense. He can easily stand up to the rigors of playing inside as a safety/slot defensive back. Again, he did that half of his career in college.

3a. Run-pass option

The run-pass option is another factor that should be considered. The RPO is a post-snap decision made by the QB whether to hand the ball off to the running back or quickly pass the ball up field. His decision is made primarily by reading the defender in conflict (usually the box safety or linebacker). It’s a bang-bang play that’s designed to take advantage of the defense’s decisions (I break it all down in the related story below).

Related Story. Explaining the run-pass option in the NFL. light

Why this is relevant to Chido is that Chido is one of the smartest players on the team. He can read and diagnose quickly and using him inside against the RPO is a perfect use of his intelligence. His intelligence is basically wasted on the boundary.

So essentially all of Chidobe Awuzie’s strengths point to him moving inside to play more of a slot/box safety role. His ball skills are better there, his ability to blitz is utilized there, and his intelligence is put to work there. That’s where I see him taking more snaps in 2020.


This doesn’t mean Chido should become the slot CB (although he very well could). This also doesn’t mean he can never play boundary CB again. It just means his particular set of skills are best used inside the numbers rather than outside.

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Chido is expected to play a big role in 2020 and that role will be defending the pass a variety of ways. Getting him to take more snaps inside the box may be key to unlocking his game.