How Anthony Brown helped the Dallas Cowboys draft Micah Parsons

Anthony Brown #30 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Anthony Brown #30 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

When you think of underrated players on the Dallas Cowboys, who first comes to mind? Is it long snapper Jake McQuaide ? How about the recently re-signed safety Jayron Kearse? Maybe it’s Tony Pollard or Dorance Armstrong? How many people thought of CB Anthony Brown?

What if I told you Anthony Brown may be a reason why we have Micah Parsons on the roster today?

Anthony Brown was a low-key savior for the Dallas Cowboys defense last season. The six-year vet out of Purdue was a draft pick of the Cowboys famous “class of 2016”. The sixth round standout made an impression from the jump, thriving in the slot and showing the speed (4.35 sec 40-time) and versatility to play outside on the boundary if called upon.

Last season he was called upon.

The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2021 NFL Draft banking on one of the top-2 cornerbacks falling to them at 10. When both went of the board just ahead of them, Dallas scrambled, selecting Micah Parsons after a small trade back, and earning a place in Cowboys lore along the way.

But this is about the CB position and not another story about lucking into a mold-breaking pass-rusher like Parsons. At that point in the draft, the Dallas Cowboys were up a creek, as they say. They had second year CB Trevon Diggs on the roster and basically a pair of slot CBs in Brown and Jourdan Lewis. That was it.

The Cowboys could have panicked and forced a CB pick in the first round. They would have filled their most urgent hole on the roster and in a fairly loaded first round of CBs, no one would have blamed them for it. But doing so, they would have missed out on Micah Parsons, and subsequently changed the entire trajectory of the franchise.

The Dallas Cowboys knew they had a Plan B sitting on the roster. Before last season, Brown had taken a decent portion of his snaps outside. It wasn’t his optimal position, but in a jam, he proved to be more than serviceable on the boundary.

It’s Anthony Brown who enabled the Dallas Cowboys to stick to their board and draft Micah Parsons in 2021

It doesn’t just end with facilitating the Micah Parsons pick either. When Dallas did decide to force the issue in the second round of the draft, they stuck to their board and selected a raw project player of sorts, Kelvin Joseph. His raw skills and ceiling made him the top CB target on their board and they felt alright with his inevitable learning curve because…you guessed it…Anthony Brown was on the roster.

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t love their options at CB on Day 2. Again, they were banking on getting their CB in the first round. And they knew Kelvin Joseph, with his whopping nine career starts under his college belt, wasn’t a hit-the-ground-running type of prospect.

As I explained following the draft, patience would be required for Kelvin Joseph. Most take time and raw second rounders are not usually the exception to the rule (see article below).

Setting the expectations for CB Kelvin Joseph. light. Related Story

The Dallas Cowboys were generally able to stick to their draft board despite being thrown a curveball on the first pitch. And they were able to do so because they had a veteran CB with positional versatility like Anthony Brown on the roster at the ready.

How did Anthony Brown do?

Better than most care to credit him for. Brown wasn’t a lockdown corner, by any means, but he was technically sound and reliable throughout the course. With the exception of Week 1 and one really REALLY bad Thanksgiving game where he drew four pass interference penalties, he was one of the better starting CBs in the NFL.

He wasn’t a ballhawk like Trevon Diggs was but he offered good balance – Brown was the Yin to Trevon’s Yang.

At just $6.5 million against the cap this season, Brown is one of the NFL’s cheaper veteran starting cornerbacks. He’s a high value player who facilitated the Parsons pick and performed well in a very difficult role last season.

Will Anthony Brown be the starting outside CB again in 2022?

We hope he can move to his more natural position in the slot in 2022. But since Joseph only logged a total of 165 snaps last year, he’s far from a sure thing to win that CB2 spot this year. Dallas will likely add another veteran CB to their roster at some point this offseason. They’ll also likely draft a player as well. We’ll see how it all turns out but one thing is for sure, Anthony Brown is there just in case.

There was a lot of buzz about cutting Brown earlier in the offseason to save money. As one of the highest value players on the roster, I didn’t quite see it. But the Cowboys have done crazier things and frankly, still could.

Must Read. Cowboys need speed at WR: These 3 free agent options can help. light

Next. Breaking down Kelvin Joseph's impressive Cowboys debut. dark

Today, let us appreciate one of the most underrated players on the Dallas Cowboys roster. Anthony Brown’s ability to move outside allowed Dallas to draft Micah Parsons. He allowed Kelvin Joseph time to grow and he did it all playing pretty good ball for a pretty fair price.

  • Published on 03/24/2022 at 12:58 PM
  • Last updated at 03/24/2022 at 13:11 PM