Where should the Cowboys be investing their offseason capital?
Ah, the good ole’ narrative that the Cowboys need help in the backend of their defense. I honestly couldn’t tell you when the last time this wasn’t a discussion that we were having during draft season.
But here we are again.
Entering this offseason, the franchise can arguably say they only have one defensive back healthy that they can trust. See, that’s the keyword. “Healthy.” Before cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown suffered season-ending injuries, they weren’t doing too bad, as they held their own alongside Cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Then injuries piled up, rookie cornerback Da’Ron Bland was thrown into a starting position, and the team had a carousel of defensive backs they had to cycle through to find an answer in the backend.
While Bland played pretty solid, it will be interesting to watch if he holds onto that starting gig or if the team elects to give it back to Brown or Lewis.
But to save the team some trouble in making difficult decisions and to improve their overall depth, we’re electing with them prioritizing a cornerback in this year’s draft. A guy like Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Georgia’s Keele Ringo, or Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez would instantly come in and make an impact.
Cowboys Pro Bowl: Trevon Diggs Gets Interception vs. ‘QB’ Brother Stefon; WATCH - NFL Tracker- Cowboys Country Staff, Sports Illustrated
Round two of the brothers’ Pro Bowl matchup goes to Trevon.
FEB 5 DIGGS VS. DIGGS Trevon Diggs vs. Stefon Diggs? It’s bragging rights within the family, and otherwise sort of silly fun.
What happened? Little brother Trevon of the Cowboys picked off big brother Stefon of the Bills after the star wideout - “playing QB’’ in the flag-football game that is now the centerpiece of the Pro Bowl - tried to throw a pass.
Trevon grabbed the interception in the red zone and almost returned it for a touchdown.
Difficult decisions will need to be made, and these names might have to go.
1. WR TY Hilton
TY Hilton was a surprise midseason addition for the Cowboys. Everyone predicted the team would sign Odell Beckham Jr., but then nobody ended up signing Beckham. The Cowboys, instead, signed the former Indianapolis Colts star.
Hilton played just five games with the Cowboys, catching 10 balls for 159 yards and failing to score a touchdown. He did reach a first down on seven of his 10 catches. Hilton was efficient, but there’s no reason to bring him back now. There are plenty of other wide receivers who would be big upgrades. Maybe Hilton would do better with a full offseason in the Cowboys system, but the Cowboys are making massive changes to the system with the replacement of Kellen Moore with Brian Schottenheimer.
The Cowboys also have a much harder decision at wide receiver. Noah Brown is a free agent. Four catches and 39 postseason yards in two games is nothing to call home about, but he had some clutch moments throughout the year. The Cowboys could easily replace them both, but Brown is much more likely to return.
Start paying attention to these prospects.
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Wilson might be viewed as a Day 2 prospect after a great Senior Bowl week. In Saturday’s game, the Stanford receiver caught 4 passes for 76 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Just how impressive was Wilson? He was named the best catcher at the Senior Bowl by PFF’s Trevor Sikkema.
It’s no secret the Cowboys need to upgrade at receiver. While Wilson shouldn’t be viewed as the position’s saving grace, he’d be a great pickup as the offense’s new WR4 behind CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and whomever the front office identifies (perhaps Odell Beckham Jr.) as the new third option.
Wilson was Stanford’s captain in 2022, and he has all the off-field intangibles you could want in a prospect. Just watch this interview.
Have you kept the faith in Jalen Tolbert?
The 6-foot-3, 190 pound Tolbert came to the Cowboys as a big-play machine. He didn’t run a nuanced route tree and often beat opponents by simply being more athletic. Tolbert has the attributes and ability to be an NFL receiver but he needs to develop as a route runner and will need better decision-making and confidence before he put his skillset to work in Dallas.
Tolbert will turn 24-years-old this spring so even though he’s just entering his second season, the clock is ticking. But when considering the jump from South Alabama, and how raw as a prospect he entered the league, struggles were expected.
But Tolbert wasn’t alone in his low-profile performance. While the top prospects met expectations, most of Tolbert’s Day 3 brethren struggled to find footing as well.
As long as Tolbert can show improvement as WR and continue to be an asset on special teams, he will be given time to develop. His rookie season was undeniably disappointing but it was also understandable. It’s far too early to throw the bust label around and in a Cowboys WR room that is likely to churn considerably this off-season, more opportunities for Tolbert will be on the way.
Cowboys mock draft (Vol. 1): Prioritizing the cornerback position in the first round- Tony Catalina, Blogging The Boys
It is officially mock draft season.
1.26 - CB, Joey Porter Jr., Penn State University
6’2” 192 | 115 tackles, 17 pass defensed, 1 interception in career
Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. projects as an impact defender in the NFL. This is a player with surreal length and physicality on the outside and I thought he took some massive strides in 2022 by becoming a more consistent coverage defender. His leap in play and functional athleticism catapult him into the upper echelon of prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Porter Jr. might be the longest cornerback you’ve ever seen. He’s got incredible reach and influence inside the contact window and at the line of scrimmage. I really appreciated the growth he showed in 2022 with his patience in that area as well; he trusted his footwork and his length to disrupt releases and force receivers to work into their stem with lateral displacement. The pop in his hands in press is significant and further helped to bubble landmarks. Porter Jr. offers effective tackling and a massive tackling radius at the catch point as well, showing plenty of juice as a striker in run support or when he’s recognizing quick game to the flats and able to shoot past blocks from skill players.
A pick in the first round like Joey Porter Jr., is an instant upgrade to your secondary and someone you can pair with Trevon Diggs for years to come. Not only does it address a need for the Cowboys, it fell perfectly here as there was no reach involved when it came to making the selection either. As the board fell in this draft, the highest rated players on the board when the Cowboys were on the clock were Porter Jr. and Nolan Smith, the defensive end from Georgia. While Smith would have been a solid pick and definitely worth consideration in his own right, we opted with filling a need with a player that is high on their board.
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