After selecting three offensive players in a row, the Dallas Cowboys went back to the defensive side of the ball with their second fifth-round pick. Dallas selected Fresno State cornerback DaRon Bland, who happened to be a member of their pre-draft 30 visit group.
Bland was consistently around the football in his final three seasons at Fresno State, totaling 23 pass deflections and five interceptions. The cornerback also showed he wasn’t afraid to tackle, recording at least 43 tackles in each of his final three seasons at Fresno State.
Really enjoyed studying Fresno St CB Daron Bland. Excellent instincts & ball skills. 6’0 1/4 197 lbs 446 40 pic.twitter.com/m25LEivJyI— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 17, 2022
The 6’0 cornerback has good size, and also possesses 4.44 speed. Bland graded out with an 8.17 relative athletic score, showing the caliber of athlete he is.
DaRon Bland needs more recognition— Krypticz (@KrypticNFL) April 24, 2022
He played for a Fresno State but he’s 6 foot, has 4.4 speed, and had good stats in a decent conference
50 targets across 353 coverage snaps
21 catches for 274 yards
63.2 passer rating
3 TDs, 2 INTs
feels like a really good 6th round pick pic.twitter.com/BCDIqK6N4B
Bland will be another young cornerback for Dan Quinn to work with, and will also provide the Cowboys with some insurance due to Kelvin Joseph’s uncertain situation moving forward. Here’s what NFL Draft analyst Dan Brugler of The Athletic had to say about the cornerback in his 2022 NFL Draft guide.
SUMMARY: DaRon Bland was a three-year letterman at Central Catholic in Modesto and earned league defensive player of the year honors as a senior with 44 tackles and two interceptions, adding 24 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns on offense. A no-star recruit, he committed to FCS Sacramento State where he played three seasons while also competing for the track team (placed fifth at Big Sky Championships with a 6.86 60 meters). He transferred to Fresno State for his final season in 2021 and started the final nine games. Bland smothers receivers on the outside and plays with the speed and physicality that pop on the screen. His twitch is slightly delayed at the top of routes, although his eye use and route recognition showed encouraging improvements in 2021 as he adjusted to the FBS. Overall, Bland has only average hips and will lose his feel for the route at times, but his length, speed and toughness are desirable traits for NFL teams to develop.
Overall, at this point of the draft you are looking for intriguing traits, and that’s exactly what Bland brings to the table. He’s quick, is a good athlete, and is consistently around the football. Those are exactly what you are looking for in a young corner, making this a pick with some serious upside potential.
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