With NFL free agency looming just around the corner, cornerback is at the forefront of positions the Cowboys will be focused on - with Byron Jones and Anthony Brown both free agents. The more we here the new regime talk (and the old at times), the more it seems like Byron Jones is all but done wearing the star. If that does happen to be the case, and the team doesn’t replace him in free agency, the 2020 NFL Draft will be the best bet to find Jones’ replacement for 2020 and the foreseeable future.
That’s where Noah Igbinoghene steps in.
Name: Noah Igbinoghene
As of now, the only All-22 tape I have of Igbinoghene is the 2019 Iron Bowl (Alabama vs Auburn). If this is the first tape you watch of the 5’11” cornerback, you’ll likely ask yourself why he’d be available at pick 51, and once he tests at the combine, he may not be. But as of now, Igbinoghene is projected to go somewhere in the mid-second to early third round range. He plays the cornerback position with excellent athleticism, elite coverage abilities, and one of the highest ceilings in this class. He comes from a family of track stars, and was recruited at Auburn for both track and field and as a wide receiver. After just two seasons, Igbinoghene made the transformation to cornerback and has been on rise ever since. The former track star has very fluid hips that allows him to turn and run with some of the faster receivers in the country. At the line of scrimmage, Igbinoghene has adequate mirroring skills which is something developing defensive backs often struggle with. The athleticism absolutely flies off the tape, especially in the Alabama game, where he completely locked down DeVonta Smith, a projected 2021 first-round receiver. Uses the sideline to his advantage to limit receivers space on go-routes and has a good feel for how to get his body in-between the receiver and the football. Receivers rarely get behind him in coverage, and when they do, he has the athleticism to recover. Plays extremely well with his back to the football, and you rarely see any sort of panic from the 5’ 11” 200 lb corner. Offers great ability a kick returner after scoring a touchdown as a return man in both years as a starter.
Could play with more physicality in all aspects of his game. While he seemed to have good tackling technique at Auburn, far too often he didn’t show physical play on the boundary in support duties. Ball production was low for a former wide receiver. Had only one interception in his two years at Auburn, but his PBU’s were solid with a combined 19 PBU’s. Lack of length could be an issue at the next level when asked to press receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Noah Igbinoghene and the Dallas Cowboys would be a solid match. Dallas is likely to be desperate for cornerbacks, but could look to go elsewhere in the first round, and wait until the 51st overall pick to address the need at cornerback. Igbinoghene will likely hear his name called right in that exact range, minus any sort of off-the-field or injury that could crop up before the draft. When watching Igbinoghene, I get Jaire Alexander vibes when coming out of Louisville a few years ago. While the interception totals may scare some off, he wasn’t targeted a ton, and the 19 PBU’s should be enough evidence to trust him in contested situations. Bottom line is the coverage skills and athletic traits that Noah Igbinoghene offers as a likely day two cornerback should make him a top priority if the Cowboys don’t use the 17th overall pick, or spend big money in free agency, on a starting corner.
Overall Ranking: 38th
Round Grade: 2
Positional Ranking: CB4
We’ve seen Najee Harris do a lot more with a lot less. Here Noah Igbinohene #4 limits the big play on the screen. pic.twitter.com/Dvg0RsqASt— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
Noah Igbinoghene locking up Ruggs in the slot at the bottom of the screen. Tight coverage forces a perfect throw and catch, but his ability to play through the ball at the catch point gets him the PBU. pic.twitter.com/Il8YnQoYWo— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
Igbinoghene is twitched up man. Flips the hips and goes here at the bottom of the screen. DeVonta Smith is electric, but he’s been all over him. pic.twitter.com/1veQ1piVr6— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
First time he’s been beat in this game. An excellent route from Smith selling the out-and-up, but even then Igbinoghene recovers. The subtle slip at the top of route allows Smith the separation he needed. pic.twitter.com/FsPCAmFddy— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
Another great rep from him against Smith (top of the screen).— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
Alabama really had four first round receivers on their roster in 2019. pic.twitter.com/pdUqKSUWoH
In zero way does this deserve a flag. This is a PERFECT rep from #4. Uses the sideline to squeeze Smith to the boundary, while getting his right shoulder in between Smith and the football.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
PERFECT coverage. pic.twitter.com/tpD7L0ygiv
I have zero idea why Igbinoghene isn’t getting talked about like a top five CB. pic.twitter.com/8hsZDZTFTN— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 28, 2020