Things look a lot different today than they did a year ago in the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Gone are long-time contributors (at times) such as Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne. In there place are many new faces.
Orlando Scandrick is the savvy veteran of the bunch, but it doesn’t feel like he’s the leader. The Cowboys were reportedly shopping Scandrick during the draft, and he’s obviously closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
Anthony Brown is an exciting prospect and hopefully CB1 of the future, but he has a literal chip on his shoulder which is somewhat of a demerit (I had to). In all seriousness Brown has the potential to be the guy, but it’s just too soon for it to be true now.
If there ever was an opportunity for a player to grab the reigns at his position group, it’s happening as the Cowboys begin training camp for Byron Jones. Jones holds all of the right cards in terms of leadership off of the field, and he’s now enough of a veteran to translate them to a significant role on the team.
During the Cowboys opening press conference on Sunday Stephen Jones specifically mentioned how Byron Jones has an opportunity in front of him here. Fans had worn thin on Church, Wilcox, Carr, and Claiborne at various degrees, but there’s no denying the impact that they had at one point or another and the varying levels of leadership that they provided.
Byron Jones checks all of the “Right Kind of Guy” boxes, however you want to define them. He’s a high-pedigree player as a former first-rounder, and he’s a third-year player on a team with superstars who are only in their second. He’s the total package in this regard.
The unquestioned leader on the defensive side of the ball is Sean Lee, but with a secondary that contains three rookies and an older veteran in his first year with the club in Nolan Carroll (who was arrested in the offseason on suspicion of a DWI and may in fact be suspended for it), there’s an aching for leadership in the back of the unit as well. There’s no hiding from the suspension of David Irving either, and the defensive line as a whole doesn’t necessarily have a leader.
It is interesting that Stephen Jones was so specific to cite Byron Jones as someone with this opportunity before him. You have to imagine that it’s not only a natural progression for Byron to assume these duties, but that the coaches and front office might in fact be rooting for it. On a team with the issues (and alleged ones) that the Cowboys have, they sure could use a lot more Byron Jones.