Editor's Note: In the middle of unprecedented times, there is plenty of uncertainty to go around, both with the Cowboys and the NFL. As the NFL and NFLPA continue to monitor the ever-changing process of getting back to football, we will do our best to answer pressing questions that arise. In the meantime, there are football-related matters that need to be solved as well. Knowing full well that positon battles, roster spots and other football questions take a major backseat to the bigger issues that have been presented by COVID-19, our staff will attempt to tackle 20 of the bigger questions that this team and league faces as we get ready for the 2020 season. Today, we start with a football question regarding the new-look cornerback position.
20Q – Who Starts At Cornerback?
With the loss of Byron Jones to free agency, the Cowboys have some big shoes to fill. They have plenty of options, but none that come without their own set of questions. Both Chido Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are entering the last year of their deals, plus Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson have yet to play an NFL snap. Anthony Brown and Daryl Worley have experience but haven't been the most consistent.
Here's how the Cowboys' staff writers seem to think the cornerback position will shake out.
David Helman: More so than any other year in recent history, this a season where the deck seems stacked against the rookies. They haven't even been able to get comfortable with the facility, let alone practice and get comfortable with what the coaching staff is asking them to do. That's why my projections for the Cowboys' various roster battles feel so boring. It's not a knock on Trevon Diggs or Reggie Robinson, but I have a hard time expecting them to beat out a trio of experienced veterans under such adverse circumstances. Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis have all appeared more than 40 NFL games. Awuzie and Brown have been regular starters for several years. That's an undeniable advantage – especially when their competition didn't even get to go through OTAs. My guess is that these three vets win the top three jobs coming out of camp, and hopefully the two rookies are good enough to earn some playing time as the season moves along.
Rob Phillips: This is the most wide-open position battle I can remember in the last 10 or so Cowboys camps. The wide receiver competition in 2018 (after Dez got released) is probably the closest comparison. With no in-person offseason program and no preseason games expected, I've got to lean toward experience. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown are the returning veterans, so they are my pick for the top three until further notice. Granted, it's largely a new defensive staff and scheme, so it should be a level playing field. Newcomer Daryl Worley has been a starter for the Panthers and Raiders and he plays a style that fits their philosophy, so he's one to watch. Rookies Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson II have a lot of talent. A little like Awuzie and Lewis in 2017, I could see them earning more snaps as the season goes along. But it just seems like a tough ask for rookies to step in and play big snaps right away without anything close to a normal offseason or camp.
Nick Eatman: I thought about this the other day – depending on your question, you could have a lot of different answers regarding the cornerback position. Who's the guy they gave the most money to? Anthony Brown. Who's the guy drafted the highest? Chido. Who garners the most excitement from the fans? Probably Trevon Diggs. And who makes the most plays? That'd be Jourdan Lewis. In fact, I was told by a coach that Daryl Worley even has the highest 2019 grade among any of the cornerbacks. So taking all that in, now we need to figure out who starts? That's not an easy one at all. But something tells me this coaching staff is going to like Jourdan Lewis as well. He gets the job done and has a great attitude about it. I think he's on the field, as is Anthony Brown. And I think Chido bounces back and asserts himself as one of the best corners on the team. Watch out for Worley, he might unseat Brown, although with the money they gave Brown, he'll likely have a spot in the top three.