Free agency will be playing a huge part in what the Cowboys do in the 2020 NFL Draft. Will the Cowboys retain Robert Quinn? Amari Cooper? Maliek Collins? The one name that will likely impact the Cowboys draft plans the most is what they decide to do with starting cornerback Byron Jones. After talking with some people at the Senior Bowl, and reading the tea leaves from ownership, it sure sounds like the Cowboys plan to go in a different direction at corner in 2020.
Even if the teams decides to use the free agency route to replace Byron Jones, adding competition for Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and likely having to replace Anthony Brown, is still going to be something the team will need to use the draft to do. That’s where Troy Pride Jr. out of Notre Dame comes into play.
Name: Troy Pride Jr.
School: Notre Dame
One of the best traits shown by Troy Pride Jr. is his versatility as an outside cover corner. Pride has experience playing both man and zone at Notre Dame, and showcased the ability to be effective in both schemes. Playing a lot of match-man and match-zone at Notre Dame, he has the mental processing traits to pick up and excel in many coverages at the next level. He plays the position with very good athleticism and seems to have above average length for a sub-six foot corner. Instincts and awareness were evident on film, he showed the ability to recognize routes and make reads off the quarterbacks body language.
Listen to BTB’s interview with Troy Pride Jr. on Talkin’ The Draft
Always annoying in coverage, a phrase used to describe a guy that is physical throughout the route stem, at the top of routes, and at the catch point. Hips are very fluid, showing multiple instances where he was able to turn in run with receivers down the field. Always stays sticky in coverage, and even when he does give up catches, they are usually contested. Showed the ability to play through the receivers hands to knock balls loose late Possesses great leadership qualities, and brings confidence and swagger to the position that is much needed in today’s league.
Had instances on tape where the coverage was good, but struggled to get his head around to make a play on the ball. Can be a bit too grabby in coverage, which could lead to penalties at the next level. Seemed uninterested at times when coming downhill and playing the run. Needs to be more physical and can cleanup his tackling technique as well. Needs to cleanup his mirroring skills at the line of scrimmage. Was beat by receivers releases in both the USC and Georgia game for touchdowns.
Troy Pride Jr. had a massive rise in stock after coming out of the Reese’s Senior Bowl as the top cornerback there. Pride had an excellent week in 1v1’s, and showcased his ability to be a shutdown cornerback on the outside. He is expected to have a great combine, shooting for high 4.2’s in the forty, and top percentile jumps. He can continue to develop his footwork and mirroring skills at the line of scrimmage, but has some of the better instincts and true cover skills in this draft class. If the Cowboys elect to go elsewhere at 17th overall, Pride should be a name considered on day two of the NFL Draft.
One word I continue to use to describe Pride Jr. is annoying (in a good way). He’s always grabbing, picking, and contesting at the catch point. Even when you think you’ve beaten him he’s able to recover. pic.twitter.com/SVEUKF6qyU— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 4, 2020
The athleticism from Pride Jr. pops off the tape. His ability to redirect, run with, and flip his hips is top notch. Fights through the receivers hands to the ground as well to knock the ball free.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 4, 2020
This is a tough cover for Pride against a 6’4” Michael Pittman. pic.twitter.com/vsCRAnQWCB
Coverage is good, but head needs to come around at the catch point. pic.twitter.com/vRZa49bqOY— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 4, 2020
Troy Pride is a very instinctive players. Reads the QB’s eyes here to close on the receiver forcing a check down. The explosiveness is evident. pic.twitter.com/pvmEEFj7ch— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 4, 2020