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Dallas Cowboys Draft 2018: Five cornerbacks and where to find them

Here’s a peek at the cornerback class and where the Cowboys could draft one this offseason.

Louisville v Purdue Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In this series, we’re going to go through all the needs the Cowboys currently have and find the candidates in the 2018 NFL Draft that fit the bill. Rounding out our look at the defensive positions, we’re going to take a look at cornerbacks.

The Cowboys don’t necessarily have a strong need there but it’s never a bad idea to keep churning that position. You can’t really have too many quality cornerbacks and the Cowboys should continue to build depth there because you never know when attrition rears its ugly head. Here are five cornerbacks that will fit the Cowboys under new secondary coach, Kris Richard.

Josh Jackson, 6’1, 192 lbs, Iowa (Brugler: 29th, 4th CB)

Jackson is a long and lanky cornerback built in the same vein as a Richard Sherman-type which should fit what Richard is looking for. Jackson was a former receiver and it’s helped him make his switch to corner with ease. He’s a very fluid athlete and can turn and mirror his man without losing balance in his hips. Jackson’s hands are very smooth and it’s second nature for him to leap up on those 50/50 passes and come down with the interception. He’s a very patient defender and doesn’t make too many mistakes as his coverage is solid.

He’s a tall corner who is best served in man coverage so asking him to cover the smaller receivers may be something to avoid. He’s aggressive but very disciplined and doesn’t get grabby. Just a solid athlete with potential to be a starter from day one on the outside.

Where you get him: Back end of the first round, early second.

Jaire Alexander, 5’11, 192 lbs, Louisville (Brugler: 36th, 5th CB)

Alexander is a good target for the Cowboys if they are wiped out and decide to trade back in the first. He’s got the length that you desire and his footwork is as polished as you can get. He’s a technician with scheme versatility but his best trait is his superb athleticism. Alexander is a threat anytime the ball is in his hands which will make him one of the more coveted defensive backs in this class.

He is coming off a knee injury that plagued him throughout 2017 and he also broke his hand. Alexander is a feisty cornerback with high intelligence but he’ll need to show that he’s past his injury hiccups from this past year.

Where you get him: Back end of the first round, early second.

Isaiah Oliver, 6’0, 195 lbs, Colorado (Brugler: 78th, 10th CB)

He’s another tough cornerback with playmaking abilities that will enter the NFL after starring on the Buffalo’s defense. Colorado has become an underrated DBU of sorts with Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon both in the league now. He’s got a great blend of size, speed, and athleticism that will transfer well into a solid NFL cornerback. His speed is elite for a cornerback and he expects to test very well at the Combine. Oliver is an aggressive player that can take chances due to that speed that allows room for error. The only thing that he struggles with is gearing down from that sprinter’s style of running.

He’ll need to work on comeback route coverage or bump-and-run type of plays because he can overshoot it. He’s definitely a guy who’s best football is still ahead but it would serve him well to find a specific role in his rookie season.

Where you get him: Third round

Donte Jackson, 5’11, 175 lbs, LSU (Brugler: 117th, 15th CB)

Jackson is an interesting case and he’s going to likely be the fastest cornerback at the Combine which will certainly drastically change his draft position. Jackson has played mostly cornerback, but also a little free safety from time to time in 2017. He’s an explosive athlete but he’s got a long road ahead to becoming the starting cornerback for any team. He’s what some scouts call feast or famine as his elite athletic skills will be valued over his below-average size for the position. He’s definitely going to need some good coaching to get him to reach his potential but you just can’t say no to this athletic makeup.

Where you get him: I’m not taking him before the fourth round but he’s likely to go higher

Brandon Facyson, 6’2, 197 lbs, Virginia Tech (Brugler: 192nd, 24th CB)

The Hokies had one of the country’s most underrated defenses in 2017 and Facyson was one of their standout defenders. He’s got great length in his arms but is built well for his frame, too. He’s a very smart and instinctive player that makes it really hard on possession receivers. Facyson has a great knack for getting his fair share of those 50/50 throws and his timing is excellent. He has a hard time with the shifty, speedy receivers and his 40 time will be important as some might think he’s a touch slow. He’s going to carve out a nice role as a Cover-2 cornerback who is very disruptive and is the Hokies All-Time leader in passes defensed.

Where you get him: Fifth or sixth round

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