While the Dallas Cowboys had their worst defense in franchise history, their awful play had more to do with scheme rather than the talent itself. Don’t get me wrong, they needed to upgrade talent too, and that’s why the Cowboys went all in on defense in the NFL draft.
The scheme change combined with the influx of talent should set the Dallas Cowboys defense up for success in 2021. We should expect the Cowboys will get some major contributions from a few hidden gems as well (I’m referring to a few rookies who will contribute when it matters the most).
There are a few rookies on the Dallas Cowboys who will make an immediate impact
Let’s take a look at these three players, and why they have the traits to be impactful. (of course, you’re going to believe I’m drinking the kool-aid).
Kelvin Joseph, CB
Kelvin Joseph was selected in the second round by the Cowboys and he has all of the tools to succeed in the league. For starters, Joseph had the luck to play at two Power-5 schools in the Southeast Conference: LSU and Kentucky.
At both schools, Joseph had the privilege to face off against elite first round receivers from Alabama like Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Further, Joseph has the speed (4.34 40-yard dash time) this secondary so desperately needs, and the ball-hawking skills to boot.
This best way to look at this trio is in basketball terms. It’s like having a trio of highly capable role players coming off the bench in a basketball game scoring points, making stops, and giving the starters a much needed rest.
Although Joseph only had nine career starts at Kentucky, the dynamic corner recorded five pass deflections and four interceptions before deciding to opt out of the last two games of the season.
Nine games? Who cares when you can impress with those stats in the toughest conference in college football and still miss two games?
The point is Joseph has the potential and a high ceiling to get better as the season starts. Despite Joseph being a rookie, he will benefit from an improved and experienced front seven that will put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and I’m sure this will allow Joseph to take more chances and feed off of his God-given talent.
Having second-year corner Trevon Diggs opposite of Joseph will only help his confidence grow as he plays on the boundary (not in the slot). I’m aware second round rookie corners struggle in their first year or two, but all corners are not created equal and not all defenses are built equally, either.
I believe Joseph will benefit greatly from Dallas’ front seven more so than Diggs did as a rookie, and yes, I do foresee a scenario where Joseph supplants Anthony Brown as the starting boundary corner and Brown goes to the slot. Sure, Joseph will make rookie mistakes, but his mistakes won’t be as disastrous/magnified as most rookie corners because he’s surrounded by better talent and can ease his way into the starting lineup.
That’s the difference.