Dallas Cowboys: 7 Cornerback Draft Prospects to Watch Post-Combine

With Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr both testing free agency, the Dallas Cowboys may need to look to one of these seven draft prospects as replacements

Since the NFL Combine has come and gone, many pro teams have a better idea of what kind of athletes are available in the 2017 NFL Draft. For the Dallas Cowboys, there were a few positions where their eyes should have been fixed, and cornerback is among the top of the list.

The Cowboys have had a rough go at the cornerback spot in recent seasons. In 2012, they went out and signed Brandon Carr to a huge contract. In that same year they moved up to the sixth overall spot and took Morris Claiborne out of LSU. The two players were supposed to be the cornerstone of Dallas’ defensive revival.

However, the reality was that Carr never lived up to his huge deal. He was a solid starter, but was paid like a top-five guy—which he surely wasn’t. Claiborne, on the other hand, showed signs of being a shutdown corner, but injuries derailed every season so far in his career. Both are now free agents and Dallas may not be bringing them back.

Thankfully for them, this draft class is pretty stacked with cornerback prospects. Here is a look at seven guys they should be considering in the upcoming draft.

Oct 1, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Teez Tabor (31) celebrates after an interception during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1. Teez Tabor — Florida

Jalen “Teez” Tabor was a First-Team All-SEC selection twice in his career for the Florida Gators. He broke up 28 passes during his three-year career, but his slow 40-yard dash time may have very well hurt his stock in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Vitals

Height: 6-0
Weight: 199 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.62s
Career Tackles: 104
Career Interceptions: 8

What the Scouts Say:

Scouts like how Tabor matches up with the bigger receivers that he faces. CBS Sports’ Rob Rang also is a fan of his patience and fluidity:

Tabor sports an athletic v-shaped frame with good overall weight distribution, broad shoulders and long limbs. He has loose hips and light feet, which allow him to remain balanced while changing directions easily and without sacrificing speed. Like Hargreaves, Tabor’s quick acceleration and fluidity help him remain in the hip pocket of receivers while locked up in press coverage and he offers better size than his and patience than his former teammate, helping him contest throws to bigger receivers.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

That 40-time really hurt Tabor. The tape shows a great player though and maybe that’s what Dallas sees. The scary part, though, is Dallas has had a slower corner on the outside for the past five seasons with Brandon Carr. They may want to skip on him because of that poor top end speed.

Mar 5, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; UCLA defensive back Fabian Moreau speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2. Fabian Moreau — UCLA

There two issues with UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau. One being that, due to injuries, he spent five seasons playing collegiately. The second being that he rarely recorded turnovers, getting two interceptions his final season which was double his career total coming into the year.

Vitals

Height: 6-0
Weight: 206 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.35s
Career Tackles: 149
Career Interceptions: 3

What the Scouts Say:

Like Tabor, scouts love the size of Moreau. Also like Tabor the tape shows a fantastic player that can keep up with any receiver he gets matched up with. Unlike Tabor, the numbers for Moreau at the Combine were pretty impressive, especially his quick time in the 40-yard dash. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said this of Moreau at the Combine:

A high school running back, Moreau timed well at the Combine, but more importantly, his workout numbers match the tape as he allows very little separation between him and receiver.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

Again, the Tabor comparisons come up. Tabor may not be a fit in Dallas because they had their fill of guys who don’t possess great speed. With Moreau, they have had their fill of guys who don’t create turnovers. The Cowboys aren’t going to suddenly become a great defensive team, but what they can do is find guys who can create turnovers—which would make all the difference in the world for them. With three picks his whole career, Moreau may not be the guy they want.

Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans defensive back Adoree’ Jackson (2) intercepts a pass intended for Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins (3) the 103rd Rose Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Adoree’ Jackson — USC

Adoree’ Jackson was a jack-of-all-trades for the USC Trojans. He spent time at receiver, cornerback and was a successful return man as well. He managed six touchdowns on offense, four on special teams and one as a defender. Jackson focused on the defensive side of the ball his final season with the Trojans and had his best year as a corner with five interceptions and 11 pass defenses.

Vitals

Height: 5-10
Weight: 186 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.42s
Career Tackles: 139
Career Interceptions: 6

What the Scouts Say:

While his size is a concern for some—like Lance Zierlein of the NFL.com—scouts love his ability to contribute on defense and special teams.

There are two things teams love — ball production from cornerbacks and return men who can play meaningful snaps on every down. Jackson fits those criteria. His lack of size and length are concerns, but he has the athleticism to step right in as a slot corner on the next level. His combination of coverage and return talent could make him an early impact player.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

Jackson would be an excellent fit with the Cowboys. He can be a third-down corner with Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll in town, but would also provide quite the upgrade as a punt and kickoff returner. The Boys also have to like his five interceptions as a junior. Turnovers are something they desperately need out of their corners. Keep an eye on this kid when the Cowboys are on the clock in Round 1.

Oct 10, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Cameron Sutton (7) celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

4. Cameron Sutton — Tennessee

An injury plagued 2016 will hurt the draft stock of Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton. Heading into his senior season he was a solid return man that could run with any receivers in the nation. Ankle issues slowed him down some and he also didn’t look as fast as he once was during the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Vitals

Height: 5-11
Weight: 188 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.52s
Career Tackles: 127
Career Interceptions: 7

What the Scouts Say:

He is considered kind of raw and needs to work on his movements. He also isn’t the best tackling corner. The Draftster had this to say about the former Volunteer:

Sutton is an athletic corner who is a ball hawk and knows how to high point a football in the air. He does need some work to polish his game. Sutton needs to improve his tackling and needs to improve his strength. At times he looks stiff or uncomfortable in off man coverage but excels in press coverage.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

The lack of tackling skills is a concern. The Dallas Cowboys like to have their corners able to come up and offer help in run support. They also play a lot of zone coverage which allows the shorter receptions while relying on tackling immediately. Those seem like areas of concern for Sutton, don’t expect Dallas to take a player like Sutton any earlier than Round 3—which he may be gone by.

December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (25) sacks Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) in the the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Cordrea Tankersley — Clemson

A player from the National Champion Clemson Tigers, Cordrea Tankersley turned his game up a couple notches starting in 2015. As a junior he recorded five interceptions and nine pass defenses for the Tigers and followed it up with another four picks and 11 deflections as a senior.

Vitals

Height: 6-1
Weight: 199 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.40s
Career Tackles: 117
Career Interceptions: 9

What the Scouts Say:

Scouts love the height of Tankersley and he isn’t afraid of contact. Worked mostly on the boundaries for Clemson and should do the same at the next level. Here’s what Lance Zierlein had to say in his NFL.com Draft Profile:

Has an impressive body of work as a lockdown, boundary cornerback but he has some holes in his transitions that could open the door for more separation on the next level. While he’s not always the most fluid in coverage, his 6-foot-1 frame and eight interceptions will be the two numbers some teams will focus heavily on. If he runs well at pre-draft workouts, his stock could soar thanks to his size and production.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

Dallas has Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown who both were able to play slot corner in 2016. That makes a guy like Tankersley an interesting prospect for them seeing as how he is used to playing outside. He would be an ideal second-round pick for them, but his stock may have climbed too high for that.

Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Tre’Davious White (18) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Ryder Lucas (24) during the first quarter of the game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

6. Tre’Davious White — LSU

Another corner out of LSU? Why not. This university sends great players from the position out at a high rate and Tre’Davious White is the next in the line of solid cover guys. He recorded two picks in three-of-four seasons with the Tigers and defended 34 passes in his career, including 14 in his final season. He also has been pretty durable, so Dallas Cowboys fans don’t need to compare him to Mo Claiborne in that regard.

Vitals

Height: 5-11
Weight: 192 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.47s
Career Tackles: 167
Career Interceptions: 6

What the Scouts Say:

He is aggressive and is considered a leader. Although he isn’t considered a first round pick by Andrew Kim of NFL Mocks, he does compare White to Claiborne skill wise.

Although I watched fewer games in 2016 than 2014 and 2015, I still have some uncertainty about White’s consistency on the field. While I love his aggressive play on the field, his off the field leadership, and his refined coverage technique he displayed in 2016, I think there are more talented and more polished cornerbacks in this class of 2017. That gives me pause for concern on the idea of a team taking White in Round 1 as I see him taken in Round 2 with upside as a potential starter as a nickel corner or #2 cornerback in the NFL.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

White would be a solid fit. He is a good player and could very well slide to the end of round two thanks to the talent at the position. With a huge need at pass rusher the Cowboys could select a defensive end in round one and hope a player as good as White is there when they make the 60th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Dec 27, 2016; San Diego , CA, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Jalen Myrick (5) looks at a punted ball during the first half against the Washington State Cougars at Qualcomm Stadium. Minnesota won 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

7. Jalen Myrick — Minnesota

If you ever questioned if it’s possible to put up an uneventful 4.28 in the 40-yard dash, the answer is yes. After Washington receiver John Ross went 4.22 in the sprint, the Twitter world went insane. Later during the combine Minnesota defensive back Jalen Myrick went for an impressive 4.28 —but he didn’t hurt himself and have to go home running his —burn.

Vitals

Height: 5-10
Weight: 200 Pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.28s
Career Tackles: 93
Career Interceptions: 3

What the Scouts Say:

Scouts aren’t sure if Myrick is a corner or a free safety. He never was really a ball hawk, but is decent in press coverage according to the folks at Ourlads.com;

Tough and savvy player who can play press corner or move inside to safety. Quick feet with good initial reactions. Quick backpedal with good turn and run ability. Maintains a good cushion and understands how to stay in phase with the receiver. Plays best in press coverage. Needs some work on playing the ball and playing off coverage. Will be an asset for a team in the right scheme.

Is he a fit in Dallas?

The best thing for the Dallas Cowboys is that Myrick is considered a late Day 2, or possibly Day 3, pick. Targeting a player like the Gophers Myrick allows them to address some deeper needs like strong safety and defensive end earlier in the draft. His speed could be quite the asset in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s zone coverage scheme.

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