(Editor's Note: As the NFL Draft approaches on April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com's Draft Series will analyze every position, the Cowboys' needs at each, which players might be targeted for their six picks and some interesting draft nuggets. Part 10 features the cornerback position.)
The Cowboys made quite a change last year at the cornerback position and surprised many by trading up eight spots from 14 to 6 for Morris Claiborne. At the time, it wasn't on anyone's radar and even the
Cowboys weren't thinking about that scenario until it happened on draft day. That's when they got aggressive and parted ways with their second round pick to get Claiborne, a player they had rated No. 2 overall behind Andrew Luck. With Claiborne in the mix, the Cowboys paired him with Brandon Carr, a big-time free agent signing the previous month, so the cornerback position received a big facelift in a short time. Carr and Claiborne had a good season in 2012, but the Cowboys are expecting bigger things this year. Carr made some timely plays and proved to be worth his contract. Claiborne had the typical rookie struggles but overall, made big strides as the season wore on. Orlando Scandrick missed the end of the season with a wrist injury but should be back as the No. 3 corner once again. Mike Jenkins is gone, signing with the Raiders in free agency. Sterling Moore, a midseason acquisition from the Patriots' practice squad, played well despite barely knowing the defense or schemes. With a full offseason, the Cowboys think he can be a nice fit in the defense and special teams.
While there are many positions that have big-name players still available, the cornerback spot isn't really one of them. Several free-agent corners found homes once the signing period began, leaving it a thin market for teams wanting help.
The Cowboys can't be one of those teams, especially considering Scandrick is making more than $5 million per season as the third corner. With Carr and Claiborne in the fold, and Moore figuring to play a part, Dallas has no need for an aging cornerback such as Sheldon Brown or Quentin Jammer, unless of course injuries start occurring in training camp, something we saw last season.
In 2003, Bill Parcells figured to make a big splash in his first draft with the Cowboys, who owned the No. 5 overall pick. While many fans were hoping the Cowboys would take quarterback Byron Leftwich, Parcells had his sights on another player: Dewayne Robertson from Kentucky. The massive defensive tackle was supposedly Parcells' first target, but he went off the board to the Jets with the No. 4 pick. The Cowboys stayed put at 5 and instead took Terence Newman, the versatile cornerback from Kansas State. Newman started all nine years with the Cowboys and earned two Pro Bowl selections. Robertson played six years but never lived up to the hype. [embedded_ad]
It's not a relatively deep class of cornerbacks, but there are some first-round picks that will immediately help some teams, including Alabama's Dee Millner, a projected Top 5 selection. Florida State's Xavier Rhodes is also a potential Top 10 pick. ***Bryan Broaddus has more on a few cornerback prospects that will likely make it past the first round.***