[Most NFL teams will feed the overused line of best player available but the league is just not setup that way. It’s really more of a best player available at a position of need unless there is something too sweet to pass on. In this series, we’re going to look at each of the Cowboys’ slotted picks in the draft and compare it to their positions of need to see where the two might align.]
Pick 51 Analysis
The first round of the draft will set the stage for what is possible in the later rounds and we know that the Cowboys have specific defensive targets in mind. In a perfect world, the Cowboys would hope to have their druthers of a cornerback or defensive end in the first round. We have already pinpointed the possibilities of what they will face at 17 and determined they will have a fighting chance to land a player like K’Lavon Chaisson for the defensive line. Though C.J. Henderson might be the player the Cowboys want, he has a great chance to go much earlier. So, if the Cowboys swing and miss on cornerback in the first round, the good news is that there are likely candidates for the taking at 51.
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Igbinoghene has only played two years at cornerback and the lack of experience might help the Cowboys here. What you get with Igbinoghene is an ascending player that already has starter qualities in terms of man coverage abilities. He has impressive hands and closing speed, very much the scrappy corner that will fight the receiver for the ball at the top of the route. Igbinoghene is a versatile player and knows how to follow alpha receivers because he used to be one. His athleticism, versatility, and play strength will make him a no-brainer if he’s available in the second round.
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
There is talk about Terrell creeping into the first round if a team like the Cowboys are wiped out at 17, it’s possible. His length is great and his mirror-matching skills are phenomenal. His tackling leaves a lot to be desired and can be a bit grabby at the top of the route, these are the main reasons for him getting a second-round grade by most draft gurus. Terrell could add some bulk to his wiry frame and you would like to see him attack the football more than his tape shows. Still, Like Byron Jones had for a couple of years, Terrell leaves a razor-thin margin of space between he and the man he’s covering. Terrell is an outstanding press man option for the Cowboys.
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Another good cover cornerback that thrives in press man assignments, Arnette is higher on my radar than most. Arnette does a nice job of being in the way of his receiver and creating a dangerous window to throw into. He has good size and a balanced skill set that will see his stock rise for teams coveting good man-cover corners. He does have some noticeable struggles in run support, but it’s things he can improve on with good teaching. Arnette is a top option in round two because his feet are nimble, his footwork is solid, and his jam skills are top-notch. He doesn’t have the ball production you want from a corner but the tape shows plenty of playmaking potential, he’s just somewhat of a late-bloomer.
Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Unlike the other guys on this list, Dantzler projects best as a perimeter zone defender and will fit well in zone schemes. Dantzler does a nice job of reading quarterback’s eyes and has the length to take on any type of NFL receiver. Dantzler still could add some play strength and bulk to his frame but he’s got a lot to start with. When you throw on his tape, you really like the way he attacks routes, as well as his ability to anticipate and show awareness for different offensive concepts. Dantzler is long, rangy, can be trusted to tackle well, and plucks the ball from the air as well as anybody in the class. He’s got some technical aspects to refine but there is a lot to like with this prospect.
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Not the most reactionary athlete among the corner prospects, Bryce Hall does a nice job of protecting his deficiencies. He has fantastic length and is one of the most accomplished tacklers of his class. He demonstrates great awareness and a high football IQ for the position. Some teams may view him as a better safety prospect but he can play cornerback on the outside and flourish in the right scheme. He’s likely best suited for a zone role on the perimeter but the dude doesn’t miss tackles so there are no worries about deficiency there.