Secondary Now Primary Focus For Cowboys As NFL Draft Nears

Looking at names still available to help improve the Dallas defensive backfield

0
647
Sep 24, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Budda Baker (32) celebrates after a Arizona Wildcats fumble during the fourth quarter at Arizona Stadium. Washington won 35-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing four members of a top ranked secondary is no easy task, however it is not impossible. After losing Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Morris Claiborne, and Brandon Carr to more lucrative offers, the Cowboys may actually come out younger and more talented as they enter the 2017 season. While a ‘war daddy’ pass rusher is still a major need, the team simply needs bodies in the back half at this point in time. Here are a few potential upgrades both in the draft and still available in free agency.

Free Agent Options

Safety

T.J. McDonald

T.J. McDonald safety, Rams
Nov 15, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams strong safety T.J. McDonald (25) is introduced to the crowd prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at the Edward Jones Dome. The Bears won the game 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

McDonald finished 2016 as Pro Football Focus’ 58th ranked safety out of 89 qualifying players, however he did boast a 80.8 coverage score placing him in the top third of the league. Shoulder concerns and a recent DUI could be the reason he is still unsigned and may drive his price into Dallas wheelhouse.

Bradley McDouglad

Just like McDonald, McDouglad is 26 years old, making them both a fit for the Cowboys free agent age profile. Bradley ranked as PFF’s 42nd safety producing a more well rounded coverage and run support score than McDonald. As a somewhat unknown name he could become the type of value signing the Cowboys covet.

Corner

Patrick Robinson

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is tackled by San Diego Chargers defensive back Patrick Robinson during the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is tackled by San Diego Chargers defensive back Patrick Robinson during the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Cowboys expressed interest in Robinson last offseason and it appeared that a deal had been reached. That was until Robinson decided to part ways with his agent and a new deal was never finalized. He ended up signing with the Colts but is now on the market again. Still at just 29 years old the former first round pick may be worth kicking the tires on again, or perhaps that bridge has been burned.

Brandon Flowers

Nov 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) intercepts a pass by Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (not pictured) and returns it for a touchdown during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 43-35. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) intercepts a pass by Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (not pictured) and returns it for a touchdown during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 43-35. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Flowers doesn’t fit the mold age wise that the Cowboys desire as he is 31 years old. But he can still play at an above average level when healthy, ranking 40th out of PFF’s 112 qualifying players in 2016. A short term incentive laden deal could benefit both sides.


AROUND COVER32

Trivia Blitz: Enjoy a little St. Patrick’s Day fun with this football quiz

2017 Free Agency: Taking a look at the worst deals in free agency so far

cover32 Exclusive:: Interview with Baltimore Ravens’ safety, Anthony Levine


Nickell Robey-Coleman

After placing himself in the conversation as one the games top young corners after his rookie season, Robey-Coleman has done nothing but regress since. However the talent seems to still be there and perhaps a change of scenery could help recapture some of that rookie success. He is also just 25 years old.

1st Round Draft Options

Safety

Budda Baker – Washington

Baker may not fit the size profile the Cowboys covet in the secondary but he flies around the field with an infectious style of play. He can make plays in run support as well as in coverage.

Jabrill Peppers – Michigan 

Peppers
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke (14) attempts a pass as Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jabrill Peppers (5) defends during the second half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It is still a bit of a question as to which position Peppers will ultimately play in the NFL, but the more I think about him next to Byron Jones, the more the idea intrigues me. The Cowboy defense is in desperate need of a playmaker who gets their hands on the football, and if nothing else Peppers seems like he may be able to do that from day one.

Obi Melifonwu – Connecticut 

NFL Draft
Sep 27, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies safety Obi Melifonwu (20) celebrates against the Temple Owls during the first half at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of a running mate for Byron Jones, how about a fellow former UConn Husky. Melifonwu has shown to be more than just a size/speed freak with his post season performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine. At 6’4” 220 lbs. and 4.4 40 yard dash speed he certainly has the measurable Dallas desires.

Corner

Fabian Moreau – UCLA 

Moreau is another prospect rising up draft boards due to his stellar post season workouts and play at the East West Shrine game, his 4.35 forty yard dash time didn’t hurt either. Becoming a favorite of CowboysNation, Moreau is a realistic option for the team at pick 28.

Cordrea Tankersley – Clemson

If the Cowboy’s propensity for size on the outside holds true again this offseason, than Tankersley may jump ahead of prospects such as Adoree Jackson and Tre’Davious White on their board. At 6’1” Cordrea had an impressive combine possibly moving himself into the tail end of round one.

Quincy Wilson – Florida

Oct 29, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Quincy Wilson (6) against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at EverBank Field. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

 Sticking with our size theme, the 6’1” 215 pound Wilson put to bed any questions about his speed with a solid 4.54 forty yard dash time at the combine. With such a deep corner class and no telling which teams covet certain prospects, it is difficult to project if Wilson will be available at pick 28. However if he is, he definitely fits the Cowboys’ criteria.

Previous articleAnswering mail Qs from Titans fans
Next articleThe Titans draft and Kendall Wright’s replacement