We love camp battles don’t we? It’s quite possibly the best part of training camp for many of us fans and media. When the Dallas Cowboys have multiple players competing over the same position, it becomes must-see-tv (so to speak) in training camp.
The idea of worthy challengers all pushing each other to their respective limits, is hard not to like. It fosters a competitive environment that can propel a team into and through the regular season. But idea isn’t always quite as romantic in application as it seems in theory
The Dallas Cowboys CB2 (cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs) in 2022 may win by default and not be the best man for the job
The starting cornerback position opposite Trevon Diggs is up for grabs this season. The favorite to claim the spot is last year’s starter, Anthony Brown. But the nickel CB-turned-boundary CB only played outside in 2021 out of need and that same situation may force him outside once again.
Anthony Brown, 28, was signed to a three-year, $15 million extension in 2020 because of his prowess defending the slot. His ability to flex outside likely played a part, but most will agree, Brown is primarily an inside CB. No one wants him to be the CB2.
Think back to last year: When the Dallas Cowboys plan to draft Patrick Surtain at Pick 10 in the 2021 draft hit a snag (Denver picked Surtain ahead of them), the Cowboys were forced to adapt. They decided to roll the dice on the maligned Kelvin Joseph in the second round and have been dealing with the consequences ever since.
Let’s be clear – Joseph is a highly talented prospected then and now. But his baggage (off-field behavior) is what made him a risk. Dallas saw this first-hand when KJ was involved in an offseason incident earlier this year that left one dead and two of his cohorts up on charges.
It’s tough to say what this means for Joseph going forward. Formal charges or not, the NFL has no qualms about levying their own penalties how they see fit. As such, there’s a better than possible chance Joseph sees a suspension handed down at some point in training camp.
If Joseph is out, he loses much needed practice reps. Joseph is still a raw prospect, after all. With only nine starts for Kentucky in college, Joseph needs all the practice he can get so a suspension would be detrimental to his development as a pro.
Behind KJ, the options are limited. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Nahshon Wright last season with their 99th pick. The controversial selection took a few promising snaps in 2021 but nothing that would make one believe he was ready to challenge for CB2.
Suddenly Brown winning the CB2 by default again seems like the most likely scenario.
There could be surprises. DaRon Bland, Kyron Brown, Quandre Mosley, and Isaac Taylor-Stuart could shock us all and be viable competitors outside. But they are long-shots and thought of primarily as fringe depth at this point.
The only real way this becomes a battle at CB2 is if Kelvin Joseph avoids suspension, develops like we hope, and pushes the chronically underappreciated Brown outside.
Sadly, we may be in for disappointment.