FRISCO, Texas - With the offseason practices – both OTAs and minicamps – all done for the Cowboys this offseason, there is a lengthy break between now and the start of training camp, which begins July 24 in Oxnard.
But that doesn't mean there aren't questions on the table at each position. Each day, we will take a deep dive into each spot on the field, analyzing the top battles, the key players and some bold predictions. Today, we continue with the cornerback position.
What Needs To Go Right: Few teams have the potential to have the best cornerback room in the NFL in 2023, though the Cowboys are firmly in that conversation. Adding a savvy veteran in Stephon Gilmore and a second-year leap from DaRon Bland will go a long way, but neither will have the impact that a true shutdown year from Trevon Diggs would. As he enters Year 4 with a contract extension looming, Diggs has plenty of incentive and a strong environment to elevate his game yet again.
Biggest Question: Can Bland repeat breakout season? One of the most unexpected and pleasant surprises for the Cowboys last season was the breakout campaign for DaRon Bland. A fifth-round pick from Fresno State, Bland was a godsend with the injury bug that struck Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown by racking up five picks, seven pass deflections and 54 tackles. The Cowboys will be hoping Bland's rookie year was no joke.
Battle To Watch: Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph: With the top three corners set in stone heading into the season while Jourdan Lewis works his way back from injury, the fourth spot will be up for grabs. Wright played well in the few times he was asked to fill in a season ago, while Joseph fared much better on special teams than at cornerback. Keep an eye on both as each player will be battling for a roster spot potentially.
Bold Prediction: The Cowboys will finish top five in the league for interceptions. This might seem like low hanging fruit, but between Diggs, Gilmore, and Bland the trio has combined for 51 career interceptions, leaving plenty of reason to dream of a backfield full of ballhawks.
Biggest Challenge: Oct. 16 at the Los Angeles Chargers: Perhaps the biggest challenge the Cowboys' corners will face in 2023 will come against a person they know all too well. With former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore now calling the plays with the Chargers, the Cowboys will undoubtedly be put to the test against Justin Herbert and co. in Week 6.
Key Stat: 127 - While newly acquired Stephon Gilmore will have plenty of impact off the field by mentoring the Cowboys' younger corners, the former DPOY still has plenty left in the tank. He ranks second among active players with 127 pass deflections.
Battle Lines Position Series: