We certainly can say with conviction that the Cowboys are not content with their situation at cornerback. Their best one, Orlando Scandrick, is coming off a torn ACL. They re-signed Morris Claiborne, but it remains to be seen if he finally makes that leap into more than just a placeholder. Brandon Carr has played in every game since coming to Cowboys in 2012 but has yet to live up to the bill of sale they paid for him.
Dallas tried on multiple occasions to solidify the issue in free agency but were spurned at every corner, so to speak. Now, they focus their attention on getting younger and better in the draft. This is certainly a year where you could say that cornerback may be as deep as any other position including defensive tackles. So, let's run down the options on how they could approach getting one or more cornerbacks. We'll let the BTB faithful decide what's best, shall we?
Draft Jalen Ramsey At Fourth Overall
Depending on who you are this could be the best overall option but then again Jalen Ramsey could be easily snagged before the fourth pick. Ramsey was very impressive in his Pro Day just as he's been since bursting onto the scene for the Seminoles. Though some draftniks think he may be better at safety, coaches seem to think otherwise. Jimbo Fisher was the first to say that many of the teams looking at him were working him at corner mostly. Now, that could just mean they wanted to see more of him at cornerback.
Ramsey is a special athlete, special enough to have won a decathlon in high school and compete in multiple track events in college. When you get a player of his caliber, you don't need to play around with him. Just put him wherever you want and let him take over. Ramsey has been high on the list of many Cowboys' fans including yours truly. He can play safety, cornerback, and even a little nickel linebacker. I tend to think he fits better with the Cowboys as a cornerback opposite Scandrick or Carr. What he would do is allow them to place him on the best receiver and just let the dominoes fall where they fall. Jalen Ramsey is a different kind of animal, one that would be extraordinary for the Dallas Cowboys.
Trade Back For More Picks And Select Vernon Hargreaves III or Eli Apple
Hargreaves- This option is more likely if one of the quarterback-needy teams is starting to sweat a little. Hargreaves is arguably the best cornerback available but he's a little on the small side. Though the Cowboys have shown to like cornerbacks with more length, Scandrick forced them to think otherwise. I have little doubt that Hargreaves couldn't do the same for these Cowboys scouts. In fact, he's listed as one of their 30 visits. Where Hargreaves wins his battles is between the ears. He knows tendencies of receivers and he's scrappy as ever. For what he lacks in size, he makes up for with athletic ability. He's a very fluid athlete and has excellent recognition skills for routes. He combines this knowledge with balance and speed to turn and go with any wideout. Dallas would love another guy that is skilled in man and zone coverages and has proven himself in run defense. Hargreaves is no consolation prize for Ramsey, he's the real deal too.
Apple- He's got more length and fits the mold of recent Cowboys' corners but is not the finished product just yet. He's a physical player and he's still learning what he can and can't get away with at the position. He knows how to maintain his positioning with receivers and has shown to be very disruptive to routes. Apple is another very athletic cornerback that has the coordination to make big plays for the defense. Like Ramsey and Hargreaves, Apple is very good as a run defender. Dallas will love the competitive nature that he brings and his ability to do multiple things in the secondary. He's got a ton of upside and isn't even near his ceiling yet. He may not be as polished as the aforementioned two players, but make no mistake, he can play this position in the NFL.
Hit The Position At 34, And Hit It Again In The Later Rounds
William Jackson III- He could certainly go earlier should there be a run on cornerbacks, but he's your preferred target at 34. He's got the length the Cowboys covet in their corners and is one of the best overall cornerback prospects in the draft. I actually like him a lot more than Hargreaves or Apple because he fits better with what the Cowboys like to have in their cornerbacks. He can make plays and it very instinctive to get to the highest point and snatch the ball. He's a superb athlete and can is comfortable whichever way you want to line him up. He plays with some swagger and that is something that the Cowboys' coaches will love. He's a leave it all out on the field type of player and often looks like a wide receiver out there. He led the AAC in pass breakups at 14 and also hauled in three interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns. He could likely make a lot of plays for the Cowboys if he's their day two pick.
Other Notable names to consider: Kendall Fuller, Artie Burns, and Xavien Howard
When it comes to later round targets to add to the cornerback competition, there are a few names that they should target and could be good fits for the Cowboys:
Eric Murray- He played and was the best cornerback on a nice tandem in Minnesota. He's been a pet cat for a little while now. He's a tough, hard-working player with the instincts to match. Murray can play outside or in the slot and that something the Cowboys value in today's NFL. He may not haul in a bunch of picks, but Murray breaks up a lot of passes and forces a lot of fumbles. He's aggressive and is not afraid to tackle, in fact, he's very skilled at it. Murray is intense and has a work ethic like no other. He's a coach's dream and could add a lot of potential to a secondary that needs a facelift in Dallas.
Harlan Miller- This would be a Senior Bowl prospect that the Cowboys have taken an interest in. He fought his heart out and showed that the game was not too much for him. He's more of a zone corner but has the reaction speed to make a play on the receiver in off coverage. Dallas will like his never-quit attitude as they threw quite a lot at him in those practices and he never wilted. Miller is tall and has a good frame for the position and like the others on this list, he can cover and wrap up in run defense. He's got development to do but he didn't even play the position until he got to Southeastern Louisiana. That's okay because he walked away as fourth all-time in interceptions and made First-Team All-Conference honors three years in a row.