Answer quickly – What are the top needs the Dallas Cowboys need to address this offseason? Defensive tackle? Safety? Sure. But chances are you thought of the cornerback position pretty quickly too, right?
With Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both set to hit free agency, there’s a good chance the Dallas Cowboys will lose two of their top-4 cornerbacks this month. I’d say that creates a pretty significant need.
But even before free agency has begun, the climate on the roster has started to change. Development, positional shifts, and forgotten men all figure into the depth of the cornerback position next season.
If you step back and look at the roster, the Dallas Cowboys are surprisingly deep at the cornerback position
Let’s say Chido and Lewis leave, vacating the CB2 and CB4 spots on the Cowboys roster. That’s a tough hill to climb for most NFL teams to handle internally. Typically that means the team has to be active in both free agency and the draft in order to overcome such critical losses. Especially if the the top cornerback on the depth chart is only a second year player.
But the Cowboys are in a unique position to handle most of their depth issues with internal candidates. And those internal replacements may even be better than the men they’re replacing.
Maurice Canady is someone we highlighted last week. The sleeper free agent signing last March has yet to be seen wearing the star. Canady opted out the 2020 NFL season so his debut is yet to come.
Last seen, Canady was a rising talent in the NFL. He’d put together back-to-back strong seasons in a CB4 reserve role with the Ravens and Jets, and was a strong special teams player to boot. He’s bigger, longer, and faster than Jourdan Lewis. Defensively, PFF graded him better in nearly every way (primarily coverage and tackling) and best of all, Canady can play outside (Lewis was more slot-only).
While we don’t know exactly what to expect from him after a year away from the game, he’s traditionally been at his best as a Cover 3/ Cover 1 coverman – a system Dallas expects to return to in 2021.
Added depth to the unit is last year’s fourth round “steal”, Reggie Robinson. We profiled him on Saturday here: Reggie Robinson moves to CB, leaving safety disturbingly shallow.
Robinson is someone everyone in Cowboys Nation should be excited about all over again. He was caught in a numbers crunch last summer. Dallas essentially protected him by moving him to safety where the competition wasn’t as veteran rich. Now that CB opened up and Dallas is going back to a single-high heavy defense, Robinson is in position to thrive.
Can he replace Chido at CB2? No. If that happens it’s probably a sign that things went wrong. But he can compete for that CB4 spot, and given his ceiling, he could develop into something much more in due time.
All in all, these two players give the Dallas Cowboys excellent depth at the position. So much depth, Dallas shouldn’t feel obligated to hunt for a CB in free agency.
What the Dallas Cowboys need is really just one premium player to take over that CB2 spot. the depth is strong – they need to focus on quality over quantity this offseason. That’s why so many people are pointing to the top of the NFL Draft to fill the need.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
Players like Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley make sense because you can just slide them right into Chido’s old starting spot. Given the way the draft scenarios are falling, there’s an excellent chance we could find some plug and play starters in the second round as well.
This isn’t like previous years where we just had to throw a bunch of options at the wall and prayed one would stick. This year we just need one surefire guy to be a starter. With Diggs as CB1, Anthony Brown as CB3, Canady CB4, and Robinson CB5, the Cowboys are abnormally deep with young quality players at the CB position.
If a value presents itself, by all means, the Dallas Cowboys should pull the trigger. But they only really need one true investment in the cornerback position.
- Published on 03/08/2021 at 12:44 PM
- Last updated at 03/08/2021 at 12:48 PM