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Cowboys’ Sixth-Round Pick Marquez White Has Upside

The Cowboys grabbed an athletic defensive back in the sixth-round to aid their efforts in revamping the secondary.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Florida State Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have made it clear that their objective this offseason is to create a defense that will complement Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and the high-powered offense.

Dallas spent their first three selections of the 2016 NFL Draft on defenders — Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, Colorado jack-of-all-trades athlete Chidobe Awuzie, and former Michigan slot-corner Jourdan Lewis. Dallas decided that slot receiver and return man Ryan Switzer was too good to pass up at 133, but they made sure to get back to their goal with their very next pick.

In the sixth round, Rod Marinelli and the defensive staff decided to select former Florida State defensive back Marquez White with the 216th overall pick of April’s draft. White did not seem to be on the radar of many, but the Cowboys are getting a player that has the upside to become a player in the revamped secondary in the Big D.

Marquez White was a two-sport athlete during his Tallahassee stay and arrived to campus a highly regarded recruit for the Seminoles. The Alabama native was a 4-star athlete in the 2013 recruiting class. White immediately saw playing time for Florida State — both on the football field and on the basketball court. White was recruited to play defensive back for Jimbo Fisher’s defense; however he was also interested in hooping during his college days. In fact, according to his FSU player bio, White was so committed to playing basketball that he joined a team less than a week after FSU’s National Championship victory.

Joined Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton’s men’s basketball squad on Jan. 12 - just six days after playing in the BCS National Championship...the backup guard appeared in six games, including the NIT Semifinals versus Minnesota at Madison Square Garden...drilled the first shot of his career - a 3-pointer - in a 70-50 win over Virginia Tech in his first career game on Feb. 5.

That is just a glimpse of the kind of person he is and the kind of worth ethic White has. While many would have wanted to celebrate such a monumental victory, White was committed to suiting up for Florida State hoops as quickly as possible. The Cowboys’ rookie seems to be all in to what he sets his mind to.

On the football field, White was a big contributor for the ‘Noles throughout his college career. He had a role in Florida State’s defense during his first year on campus, where he played in all thirteen games (either on defense or special teams) of FSU’s 2013 championship run.

Marquez White’s career stats at FSU (courtesy of sports-reference.com)

As a four-star recruit, White was expected to make an impact during his first year on campus. While he did not have a large role, White still made plays for the Seminoles during the historic season. White appeared in seven games on the defensive side of the ball and recorded twelve total tackles, brought down a ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage, and even grabbed an interception against Wake Forest. He was not the most dynamic player; however Marquez White made sure to contribute to a championship winning team in any way he could.

As a sophomore, White’s playing time on the defensive unit was limited. He was contributor during his freshman year, but was asked to have a larger special teams role in year-two according to his FSU bio:

2014: Athletic and quick reserve cornerback who appeared in 12 games and made three tackles...valuable special teams contributor…made one stop against Oklahoma State in the season opener…had two tackles versus Wake Forest

White’s junior season saw a large increase in time on the field. At this point, White was a veteran and had lots of experience playing in college football. The two-sport athlete appeared in ten more games than his previous season and made his snaps count. He recorded a total of 25 tackles from the secondary — including two behind the line — broke two passes up, and picked off his second career interception. How good was White his junior season? Here is an excerpt from his aforementioned player bio:

2015: Started all 13 games at field cornerback (first starts of his career), finishing with 25 tackles (20 solo), 2.0 TFL, two pass break-ups and an interception...ranked second in the ACC in terms of completions-per-target at 32.1 percent (STATS LLC)…was targeted only seven percent of the throws by opposing quarterbacks – making him one of the most respected cornerbacks in the country.

That’s pretty impressive for someone who plays major college football for one of the better programs around the nation. White built on his success and carried it over to his final year as a Seminole. White, again, totaled 25 tackles and two for a loss, deflected four passes, and grabbed two picks — one from Deshaun Watson — over the course of his senior season in Tallahassee. White’s final collegiate season earned him honorable mention All-ACC honors.

On this play, White drops back in zone coverage for the Seminoles. Watson rolls out, but does not see White roaming in the secondary. The result? A turnover and a nice return by Marquez White.

On this play against current New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett, White reads the play perfectly and makes a play on the ball to prevent the catch.

It is obvious that Marinelli and the defensive staff went into the offseason with the ultimate goal to revamp the defensive unit, most specifically the secondary. Dallas let veterans walk and decided to use a high number of picks to fill out their losses in the back end of the defense.

He doesn’t put up the flashiest of numbers, but Marquez White has the potential to be a player in the Cowboys’ secondary. Although he needs to continue developing his skills, White seems to be solid pick up for the Dallas Cowboys.

*Note: all gifs are from Draft Breakdown and stats are courtesy of sports-reference.com.

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