Kris Richard doesn’t deserve all the credit for the Legion of Boom’s success in Seattle but he was there since the beginning in 2010. That was the start of Seattle’s steady build that led to the best secondary in football for a number of years. In 2010 alone, the Seahawks drafted Earl Thomas at 14th overall, Walter Thurmond III at 111th overall, and Kam Chancellor at 133rd overall.
The next season, Richard helped draft Richard Sherman in the fifth and Byron Maxwell in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In the past several years, they’ve been able to add Jeremy Lane (sixth-rounder), Shaquille Griffin (third-rounder), and Tedric Thompson (fourth-rounder). When it comes to developing talent in the secondary, Richard is one of the best coaches in the league in that department.
The Cowboys have had a little bit of success of their own as Orlando Scandrick was a fifth-rounder, Anthony Brown was a sixth-rounder, and Xavier Woods was taken in the sixth round as well. Now, the Cowboys do have some more premium picks in Byron Jones (first round), Chidobe Awuzie (second round), and Jourdan Lewis (third round) on the roster, too. Still, with Richard on the payroll, it makes you wonder which prospects in this draft may be on the radar for the Cowboys in the middle to later rounds.
Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about how Byron Jones fits the thresholds that Richard has at cornerback. He’s pretty specific in what he looks for and that’s length:
“During Richard’s coaching career with Seattle, they have only drafted one cornerback that is below six feet and that was Walter Thurmond III at 5’11. If you look at the cornerbacks they have drafted, seven in total since 2010, all of them had arm lengths over 32 inches. Out of all the defensive backs drafted, only Earl Thomas had less than 32 inch arms at 31 1⁄4 inches. Byron Jones is 6’0, 205 lbs, with an arm length of 32 inches, he falls right in line with what they would want at cornerback under Kris Richard.”
If we know that Richard is looking for some lengthy corners and safety prospects, here are a few targets that may be in play:
CB/S Quenton Meeks, 6’1, 197 lbs, Stanford (Brugler: 3rd Round)
He’s got the size that teams will covet and knows how to use his length to jam receivers and disrupt their route. He’s not a twitchy athlete and lacks the speed to run with some receivers in this league. Giving effort will never be a problem and Meeks can make up for his lack of elite speed with his intelligence of route trees and how to defend them. He was named to multiple All-PAC 12 Academic teams. He’s got the right type of aggression and is a willing tackler that may get looks at safety.
CB Isaac Yiadom, 6’1, 187 lbs, Boston College (Brugler: 3-4th Round)
Yiadom is a long athlete with over 32 1⁄4 inch arms that fits everything Richard looks for in a lengthy outside cornerback. At the Senior Bowl, Yiadom was giving receivers trouble with his sticky man coverage abilities. Much like Byron Jones, Yiadom doesn’t leave much space between he and the defender but Yiadom plays the ball perfectly without getting himself in trouble.
CB/S Siran Neal, 6’0, 200 lbs, Jacksonville State (Brugler: 4-5th Round)
He played both corner and safety but he has all the traits of a press-man corner in the NFL. It was surprising how well he did at the Senior Bowl, even having a day where he owned James Washington in man coverage. Neal has great length and he shouldn’t be overlooked due to his small school background. He more than held his own at the Senior Bowl and had 33 tackles plus 11 pass breakups in his senior season.
CB Michael Joseph, 6’1, 186 lbs, Dubuque (Brugler: 5-6th Round)
He’s one of Brugler’s deep sleepers who just won the Cliff Harris Award, named after the former Cowboys’ defensive back. The award goes to the best small-school defensive player. He led all of college football with eight interceptions. Joseph is well-versed in man and zone coverages and smothers receivers without getting penalties. He’s got to show he can do the same against NFL competition but he’s certainly intriguing.
SS Tre Flowers, 6’3, 200 lbs, Oklahoma State (Brugler: 5-6th Round)
He’s got all the size and length you want and was eager to get involved in any and all tackles, leading his team with 267 career tackles. He’s bit tight in the hips and that’s going to hurt his prospects as he’s not very fluid. However, he’s another smart defensive back that knows his limitations and he does a nice job of sticking with his man. Flowers has great length to take on the bigger receiving targets in the NFL.
FS Kamari Cotton-Moya, 6’1, 198 lbs, Iowa State (Brugler: 7th Round)
He’s just an absolute leader on the field and is very comfortable playing single high. He led the Cyclones in interceptions at three and added 60 tackles with three for loss. He’s Iowa State’s all-time leader in tackles 250, and interceptions at five. Cotton-Moya is super active and served as a finisher for Iowa State where he was a no-brainer as a First-Team All-BIG-12 recipient.