When you look at the Dallas Cowboys roster, cornerback might not jump out to you as a glaring need. Dallas went out and addressed a multitude of positions this offseason, but the cornerback group has remained the same.
The Cowboys decided to hang on to veterans Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis, and are hoping that All-Pro Trevon Diggs, who had a league-leading 11 interceptions last season, can replicate his 2021 success. Outside of those three, Dallas has two young cornerbacks looking to take the next step, one of which is former Kentucky Wildcat Kelvin Joseph.
Even though he was a second-round pick, Joseph appeared in just six games during his rookie year. The 21-year-old played more than 11 snaps in just three of those games, one of which was a fairly meaningless Week 18 matchup against the Eagles. While he did show some flashes of his playmaking ability, it’s hard to be convinced Joseph can truly take the next step until we see him in more extensive live-game action.
VIDEO:— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) January 9, 2022
Kelvin Joseph drops the INT and the Eagles get the 1st downpic.twitter.com/wnCU3ATTFU
Another wildcard in Dallas’ cornerback group is 23-year-old Nahshon Wright. Like Joseph, the fourth-round pick did not get much game action last season. Wright appeared in just five games, posting a 45.0 Pro Football Focus coverage grade in 92 defensive snaps.
This play impressed me the most. Nahshon Wright controls the edge, fights through the block, and makes the play. A big criticism of Wright was his lack of physicality against the run. He certainly didn't show that weakness here. pic.twitter.com/t4VUMuYmDz— Reid D Hanson (@ReidDHanson) January 12, 2022
Joseph and Wright could both turn out to be good players, but there’s certainly no guarantee they will. Even if they both do, Trevon Diggs has just two more seasons on his contract in Dallas. If Diggs continues to play at the level he did last season, there’s no telling how much money he will demand on the open market.
When you take all of that into account, Dallas’ cornerback group seems much more complex than it does at first glance. Sure, the Cowboys drafted two corners high in the draft last year, but have we really seen anything from either of them to make us convinced they can step in and produce?
Veterans Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis aren’t bad players, but neither is a true difference-maker on a defense. Both struggle with consistency, and it’s something that has hurt the Cowboys during their time with the team. Dallas also can easily get out of both of their deals after next season, so both may not have a real long-term future with the team.
To be honest, outside of Diggs, the Cowboys lack any real sure things at the cornerback spot looking at the long-term.
While cornerback isn’t a position the Cowboys have to address in this year’s draft, like they did last year, it’s probably the biggest under-the-radar need on the roster at the current moment. Taking a corner in the mid-rounds could help elevate the group this season, and improve the long-term future of the secondary as a whole.