There has been a lot of sourness from Cowboys Nation this year after seeing the team hold a .500 record at the three-quarter point in the season. There are a handful of reasons to be sad, but if Thursday’s night performance was any indication, we might be able to check one of those things off the list, and that’s -
Chidobe Awuzie was a bad draft pick.
Now some of you are saying, “well, I never thought” and that’s fine. He hasn’t seen the field enough to give him a proper evaluation. But others had to be thinking the Cowboys made a mistake when they selected the Colorado cornerback with the 60th overall pick in the draft. Some looked at him as another Morris Claiborne - just another corner who can’t stay healthy. It’s true, he’s missed significant playing time with a lingering hamstring injury, but it’s way too presumptuous to try to slap the injury prone label on him just yet. Then there are those who love fellow rookie Jourdan Lewis so much that they just think the Cowboys could’ve used their second-round pick for another position. But as we’ve seen, there’s never such a thing as having too many good cornerbacks. Or maybe his name is just too hard to pronounce or you just don’t like him because he’s wearing Tony Dorsett’s number? Whatever the reasons may be, more fans are warming up to him now and for good reason.
Injuries and poor performances have played a part in how the Cowboys cornerback group has shaped out, but the team continues to work through their depth to find the best mix of players. Chidobe returned last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, but the team was very cautious with is playing time. But he’s healthy now and the Cowboys have every intention of using him.
Awuzie made his first NFL start, replacing Anthony Brown who only saw eight snaps on Thursday after having a lions share of the reps throughout the season. The change was met with immediate results as Awuzie was outstanding. Right out of the gate he was making plays. Look at his great closing speed, allowing him enough time to make a play on the ball.
Chidobe Awuzie played one heckuva game. pic.twitter.com/l4FcEoD0tH— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 1, 2017
And this became a common theme with him as his eyes were always focused on the ball and he showed great anticipation. This defended pass on Redskins receiver Ryan Grant was something you’d see from an elite corner who’s been in the league a long time.
It’s been so frustrating watching Cowboys cornerbacks having great position, yet they end up allowing a big play because they never got their body turned around. The chances of knocking the pass down increases dramatically when you can actually see the ball. And that is something Awuzie was sharp at on Thursday night.
Chidobe Awuzie in Cover 3 here vs. Josh Doctson.— John Owning (@JohnOwning) December 1, 2017
Does a nice job of stacking the receiver, putting himself in perfect position to contest the ball at the catch point. Times his jump perfectly & shows great body control to turn & knock the ball out of 18's hands mid-air pic.twitter.com/MrIpdqDtSE
It’s just one game, but Cowboys fans have plenty to be excited about when it comes to what they could have at cornerback with Awuzie. It was a great performance and hopefully one of many more to come now that he’s finally healthy.