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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #40 Juanyeh Thomas

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 40.

S Juanyeh Thomas
Born: 24th June 2000 (23) - Niceville, Florida
College: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Draft: 2022, UDFA, Dallas Cowboys

2021 Stats: (College)
Snaps: 851
Tackles: 63
Defensive Stops: 20
Pass Breakup: 5
Interceptions: 1
QB Rate Allowed: 135.4
Penalties: 3

Juanyeh Thomas joined Georgia Tech in 2018 and got a role quickly as one of the teams rotational defensive backs. He played in 12 games as a freshman and made 15 tackles, one interception that he took back 95 yards for a touchdown. He also became the first player for Georgia Tech to score a touchdown off a kickoff in back-to-back games. In 2019, Thomas got more snaps and made 60 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception and three pass breakups. His junior season he literally mirrored his production from the previous year, but his senior season he broke out and earned All-ACC honors. He led the team that year with six pass breakups, he also registered 81 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.

Cowboys Outlook:
Thomas came to Dallas and spent last season on the team’s practice squad preparing for his second year. Reasons to be excited for Thomas coming into the season will be his aggressiveness and willingness to tackle. He’s a super physical player that enjoys laying the big hit and dropping his shoulder. So much of his play at the Yellow Jackets saw him playing down very close the line, and this seems to be where he’s most comfortable. On goal-line plays where he’s on zone assignments you can see on tape he understands where to be and what to watch for. There’s very little wasted movement. His change-of-direction is super sharp and quick and this helps him deceive receivers and quarterbacks on quick routes.

But he’s far from polished and a finished product. The issue comes from him wanting to play the robber role due to the limitations in his length and range. His aggressive tendencies can leave him coming up short and either over-pursuing or failing to wrap up the ball carrier. In fact, his missed tackles issues is the biggest reason he failed to get a call to the active roster last year. Along with that and losing the ball carrier in the hustle, Thomas needs work. But if he can work on these areas then he could see some special team duties this year while adding more depth at the safety position. So far in training camp he’s impressed coaches and fans, let’s hope he can stay consistent.

The Big Question:
Does Juanyeh Thomas get any playing time this year? Answer in the comments.

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