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Free agent focus 2018: Bashaud Breeland is worth a look for the Cowboys

The Cowboys should look to find outside cornerback help despite young secondary success.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have been working on re-building their secondary, and that process never stops. There’s a saying in today’s pass-happy NFL - you can never have enough cornerbacks. In hopes to build a well-rounded secondary, keeping Chidobe Awuzie outside and placing Jourdan Lewis in the slot is likely the best-laid plans. Depending on what the future holds for Orlando Scandrick, might Dallas need a solid veteran to start on the outside opposite Awuzie?

[In this series, come along as we peruse the long list of free agents and focus on players that could be of interest for the Cowboys. Some of these players may, of course, price themselves out of range. However, any time you feel like your team is close like Dallas most definitely does, why not be a little aggressive in the acquisitions department?]

CB Bashaud Breeland (5’11, 195 lbs, 26-years-old)- Washington Redskins

2017 stats: started 14 games, 50 tackles, 19 passes defensed, one interception

Breeland should be a familiar name as he’s been a pretty solid cornerback for one of the Cowboys’ most hated rivals. Bashaud was recruited and played for Clemson, where he finished with 136 tackles, 17 passes defensed, six interceptions, and three sacks. He entered the 2014 NFL Draft after his junior season and was drafted 102nd overall in the fourth round.

Breeland’s most standout performance of his rookie season came against the Cowboys in a Monday Night Football game. He was able to hold Dez Bryant to three catches, force DeMarco Murray to fumble, and also break up a pass that sealed an overtime victory for Washington. Breeland started 15 games his rookie season in place of the injured DeAngelo Hall, recording 66 tackles, 14 passes defensed, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

In 2015, Breeland was suspended the first game due to a citation he was given for possession of marijuana. He started 14 games that season but managed to outdo his rookie season. Bashaud tallied 81 tackles, 16 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions. In 2016, Breeland started 14 games, recorded 73 tackles, 11 passes defensed, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a sack. This past season, he only had 50 tackles but he was able to defend 19 passes and return his only interception 96 yards for the score.

As mentioned earlier, it’s really important not to overlook the work that may still need to be done at cornerback. You could possibly still draft someone but if the Cowboys’ do want to go the veteran route, Breeland is a solid pickup depending on the price. Breeland has 60 passes defensed in four seasons whereas Scandrick has 63 in nine seasons. The Cowboys put an emphasis on getting defensive backs that tackle and make plays on the ball, Breeland does that.

The Cowboys could roll into 2018, having covered themselves nicely, with Breeland and Awuzie as your starters on the outside, Lewis in the slot, and guys like Anthony Brown as an insurance policy if they want to move on from Scandrick. This will also allow Xavier Woods to split time with Jeff Heath and Byron Jones will likely remain at the free safety position. Now, my opinion has been clear that Tre Boston would be a perfect free safety candidate which would allow Byron to move into a corner position, it’s all going to depend on cost. As many fans like to abuse Breeland on social media, his numbers are fairly decent and he most certainly could help on this defense.

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