Adding Kris Richard to this team was a big success in Dallas as we witnessed improvement from the cornerbacks’ gameplay. Byron Jones transitioned back to his original position and played phenomenally as a corner by only allowing 1 touchdown all season.
Awuzie and Brown both also showed great potential under Richard with many flashes of solid play. However, Jones and Brown are entering their last season, while Awuzie and Lewis have 2 years left on their rookie deals. With time running out on these players, Dallas will look to draft some help for the next few years. Lucky for the Cowboys that the 2019 draft class has plenty of talent at the cornerback position. The Cowboys may not have a 1st round pick, but we’ll cover some corners that could land here in the later rounds.
Joejuan William, Vanderbilt – 2nd round projection
Williams wasn’t one of the 30 day visits for the Cowboys, but Richard went out of his way to be at his pro day. Being 6’3 was the first thing that caught the eye of coach Richard, but there are many things that Williams brings to the table. He finished 5th in solo tackles among corners this past year with 48. Not only is he a physical player, but he a knack for breaking up passes. He finished the year with 18 passes defended along with 4 interceptions, both rank top 3 in the SEC. Having a player like Williams would instantly solve the #2 corner spot for many years to come.
Justin Layne, Michigan St. – 2nd round projection
Layne is a physical corner, much like Joejuan, but he has a better understanding of the corner position. Coming out of high school as a wide receiver gave him some insight when making the change to corner his freshman year. Every year his numbers get better and better as he’s racked up over 100 tackles over the past 2 seasons. Layne has great hand technique at the line that helps him get an edge on opposing receivers. The height is something that Richard will appreciate (6’2) but his footwork still needs much work. Quicker receivers tend to have success against him, which won’t work well with Dallas having players like Desean Jackson in their division.
Michael Jackson (CB) Miami – 4th round projection
One thing all of these guys have in common will be their size. Coming in at 6’1 helps his case with coach Kris Richard, it also helps that Jackson fits the scheme in Dallas. Jackson is more of a depth player but could become a good role guy in this defense. His long arms allow him to high point the ball better than most corners in this draft class. Jackson could also be used in blitzing situations as he’s proven to being able to get home on quarterbacks. His ability to move his hips and feet cause him to get beat, but he makes up for it with his use of hands.
Isaiah Johnson (CB) Houston – 4th round projection
Johnson has shown much promise after his last seasons as a corner for Houston. He’s a great combination of size, speed, and length. Johnson also played as a receiver for Houston which gives him that edge on defense. At the line of scrimmage, Johnson brings a strong first punch that helps him gain leverage on receivers. He also has the ability to track the ball very well while in the air. Johnson has been able to snatch 2 interceptions in each of the past two seasons to go along with his 100+ tackles. He also can be a great piece on special teams as we’ve seen him rip through players as a gunner. Being versatile could actually get Johnson picked earlier, but would be a great pick for Dallas in the 4th.
Chris Westry (CB) Kentucky – 7th round projection
The 7th round is normally where teams tend to take a shot at players with great potential. Westry is a player that may not may the 53 man roster his rookie year but would be a fun project for Kris Richard. While there is still a long way to go he brings some great traits like being over 6’4 with 4.31 speed. His career at Kentucky isn’t anything to brag about, but the Cowboys could use his talents on the practice squad. Westry could also end up developing as a depth corner with the help of Richard. Coaches at Kentucky say Chris brings a great attitude, along with great work ethics.
Each player has different capabilities that could all help the Cowboys lock down opposing receivers. There are too many possibilities heading into the draft that is less than a couple of weeks away, but next week be sure to return to check out the latest mock draft.