Kelvin Joseph wasn’t cut by the Dallas Cowboys today, but he’s also not going to be on their 2023 roster. The third-year cornerback was traded to the Miami Dolphins for Noah Igbinoghene, one of their first-round picks from 2020.
In an intriguing exchange of draft disappointments, Joseph leaves Dallas after falling down the depth chart despite being a 2021 second-round pick. With a clear top four of Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, DaRon Bland, and Jourdan Lewis, a versatile depth player in Israel Mukuamu, and standout rookie Eric Scott, Joseph was up against the numbers despite a strong training camp and preseason. Dallas also kept Nahshon Wright on their initial 53-man roster today, though he’s probably headed to injured reserve.
Given that numbers crunch, it’s surprising that Joseph was traded for another corner. But while Dallas has an abundance of options for guys to play the slot role, they needed more depth on the outside. That is where Igbinoghene, noted for his vertical speed, appears to fit in as the new arrival.
Igbinoghene was the 30th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Here is what was being said about him at the time of his draft.
Stocky but explosive receiver-turned-cornerback whose play generates both intrigue and concern. He’s extremely physical from snap to whistle with the strength to alter route timing from press. He’s a good athlete with a plus burst to close. He’s naturally aggressive to ambush catch tries. Staying in phase on the vertical plane is a challenge and pattern recognition is surprisingly average. Improvement is likely with more experience and technique, but playing with downfield poise is not guaranteed. He’s good in run support and offers early special teams help as he continues to learn his craft.
He played in all 16 games as a rookie and started two, but then regressed to just seven games in 2021 and nine last season. He recorded his only NFL interception last year in a Dolphins’ win over the Steelers.
Entering his fourth season under heavy scrutiny, Igbinoghene reportedly struggled in Miami’s training camp.
No one has worked harder this off-season than Igbinoghene. He is trying to turn his career into something meaningful but so far, it doesn’t seem to be working out. His teammates were talking him up throughout the OTAs and mini-camps. Citing his work ethic and film study.
Unfortunately, Igbinoghene is still making the mistakes that by now he shouldn’t be making. He is biting on routes and player moves and allowing receivers to get behind him. He may be trying too hard.
The pressure of trying to live up to his former draft status and shed the bust label may have been a mental roadblock, or perhaps he’s just in the wrong line of work.
The Cowboys will now explore if there’s any untapped potential, picking up the final year of his rookie contract for a player they were probably going to release anyway. Despite having an extra year in the league over Joseph, Igbinoghene is actually a few weeks younger. Still just 23, hopefully there’s raw talent there that Dallas’ staff will do a better job of developing.
From QB Trey Lance a few days ago to Noah Igbinoghene now, the Cowboys are suddenly flush with former first-round picks. We’ll see if their new coaches and system prove to be a better fit than the last stops.