A kind spirit, alluring eyes, and a fantastic sense of humor. That’s what you would find in the draft profile description of Mrs. Danny Phantom. That’s my type. Of course, if you scrolled down further, you’d also find her irritable without her morning coffee, unable to find a comfortable living room temperature, and a little stingy when it comes to sharing anything with chocolate in it. But hey, nobody’s perfect. The traits of this soulmate prospect caused me to take a flyer on her and ultimately has resulted in a happy marriage that extends all the way back to when the Dallas Cowboys were winning Super Bowls in the ‘90s. The point is, everyone has a type.
The Cowboys also have a very specific type when it comes to cornerbacks they covet. We like to refer to this as the sneaky pterodactyl. Or, more technically speaking, a lengthy player with great instincts who lulls you to sleep before closing quickly and snatching up its prey.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the Cowboys go after corners who fit this description. While they are not all exactly the same, they all possess these main traits the team looks for in their corners. And this draft is no different. The selection of Southern Mississippi’s Eric Scott Jr. has us all wondering if this is a sneaky good pick or another long-armed infatuation that will end in disappointment. Considering the Cowboys have selected corners that have fallen into each of those categories, it’s a fair thing to ponder. So, which is it this time?
You could say the length movement started back in 2019. Maybe it was a Kris Richard thing that has carried over through Dan Quinn as the Cowboys try to recapture the effectiveness of lengthy cornerbacks from the Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom era.
The Cowboys selected Michael Jackson, a 6’1” corner from Miami in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a big, strong corner with great arm length, but his lack of quickness made it difficult to match steps with the receivers. He was released at final roster cuts and has since been signed and released from multiple other teams. After playing sparingly, he finally found a home with, guess who, the Seattle Seahawks where he started all 17 games last season.
The following season, the team took another Day 3 flyer on Tulsa corner Reggie Robinson II. With almost identical measurables to Jackson, the Cowboys gave this another shot, only this time they opted to convert him to safety to capitalize on his instincts and hide his lack of suddenness. It didn’t work. Robinson never logged a defensive snap for the Cowboys as he was used sparingly as a special teamer in 2020. He was signed and released and then again signed and released, before finally being signed by, guess who, Seattle. Actually, this time it was the Seattle Sea Dragons as Robinson has never played a down in the NFL since leaving Dallas.
During the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cowboys would hit the pterodactyl button not once, but twice as they selected Oregon State’s Nahshon Wright in the third round and South Carolina’s Israel Mukuamu in the sixth round. Again, both are long corners that love to lurk and will ABC (always be closing) it for you. After two seasons, things haven’t gone according to plan. Despite being a third-round investment, Wright only has three starts and has been made inactive many times throughout his short career. It’s starting to feel like his days are numbered. As for Mukuamu, he is trending up. He actually logged more reps on defense than Wright last year. Like Robinson, he too was converted to safety but has gotten on the field and found some success covering the slot for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys drafted Fresno State corner DaRon Bland in the fifth round of last year’s draft. While Bland isn’t quite as lanky as these other guys, he still brings long arms and great hops to contest passes. Even more, Bland also has some solid agility to change directions better. His strengths culminated to produce an outstanding rookie season and it appears the Cowboys finally hit on one of these guys. So, if you are keeping score at home, that makes five lengthy CBs drafted over a four-year period.
But wait, they’re not done. This brings us to Eric Scott Jr.
With an 80 1⁄4 “ wingspan, Scott Jr. brings length and then some and with a 39 1⁄2 “ vertical, he can jump himself right out of the building. He’s super instinctive and loves to jump routes. The issue with Scott, like many of the pterodactyls before him, is his speed. There’s been some debate about his actual 40-time because of a quad injury. NFL Draft Scout has him at 4.54 with a low of 4.47 and a high of 4.62. While this is much more comforting than his initial 4.71 reported time, it’s still not very fast.
Another factor is his agility. With no 20-yard shuttle time to report, just how quick is this prospect? The drill work YouTube video that was apparently sent to the Cowboys does showcase some nice footwork from him. He doesn’t seem to run with that same clunkiness that we’ve seen from Robinson or Wright, so maybe his change of direction is better. The long speed is still concerning as once a defender gets passed him, there won’t be much he can do about it.
The Cowboys love these lengthy corners who can close as they can cover more ground and create pockets of deceptiveness in the secondary. What they don’t love are corners whose speed limitations force them to give up too much of a cushion to prevent from getting beat deep or who require additional safety help over the top. Only time will tell what they have in this latest development project, but hopefully, some failed dice rolls in the past and the most recent success of Bland has allowed the Cowboys to have a better feel for the traits that work best for their defense. Fingers crossed.
What is your initial impression of the Eric Scott Jr. selection?
This poll is closed
He looks like another wasted reach pick
The traits are there, this one might work