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 24.
DB Israel Mukuamu
Born: 28th November 1999 (23) - Charlotte, North Carolina
College: South Carolina Gamecocks
Draft: 2021, Round 6, Pick 227, Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys Safety #24 Israel Mukuamu was a joy to watch against the Chargers this weekend.— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) August 22, 2022
Here are a couple of plays from the same series of Mukuamu playing in the box against the run and then his interception playing from depth. pic.twitter.com/jKKggQZQeL
Defensive Snaps: 212 (18%)
Defensive Stops: 3
Pass Breakup: 1
QB Rate Allowed: 51.6
Mike McCarthy said both Donovan Wilson and Israel Mukuamu are multiple week injuries— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 27, 2023
Israel Mukuamu joined South Carolina in 2018 and as a freshman featured in all 13 games at defensive back. He made 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, one pass broken up and a forced fumble.
The next year, Mukuamu was named starting cornerback playing opposite Jaycee Horn for all 12 games. He registered 59 tackles, two tackles for loss, four interceptions which led the team and nine pass breakups. He also scored a pick-six against Georgia and was named Defensive Player of the Week. He received second-team All-SEC honors for an outstanding year.
In 2020, Mukuamu only played in five games as a junior. He missed time due to a groin injury which he kept re-aggravating through the year. He made 10 tackles and two interceptions which again led the team. He finished his college career after appearing in 22 games making 86 tackles, four tackles for loss, seven interceptions and 10 pass breakups and one touchdown.
Mukuamu joined Dallas and was very quickly put to work on special team duties. The last two seasons the majority of his snaps has been on special teams. As a defender he did feature both at the start and end of the season at both safety and cornerback. On 17 targets he allowed 10 receptions and made one pass breakup while also making one interception, and he only allowed a passer rating of 51.6.
For what the Cowboys asked him to do in rotation, and to cover the position when injures occurred, he looked fine in how he played.
2023 Roster Projection:
It gets tricky deciding what the coaches want to do with Mukuamu. Because he so tall and and rangy with a monstrous wingspan, it makes him an ideal size to play as an outside cornerback, and last year the team really pushed him to play corner the last two games of the year. With the top three cornerbacks on the roster set, this means Mukuamu is fighting for the fourth corner spot, but the injury puts him on the back foot in trying to secure the job.
Because he’s such an able tackler and aggressive in run support, some see him as a safety, something he did last year in rotation. With the injury of Donovan Wilson it’s very possible we see Mukuamu playing at strong safety as Wilson gets back to speed. Either way it’s clear Mukuamu has versatility at defensive back and we should see a little more of him this year.
2023 Projected Stats:
Tackle for Loss: 1
Defensive Stops: 4
Pass Breakup: 8
The Big Question:
Who takes the CB4 position? If you think Mukuamu takes it, let us know in the comments.