Over the past six years, the Cowboys have selected eight cornerbacks in the NFL Draft, but of those picks, only Morris Claiborne is still on the Dallas roster (and he's currently on injured reserve with a knee injury).
Led by 2008 fifth-rounder Orlando Scandrick and positive play from free agent acquisitions, the current crop of talent at the cornerback position has held up with the Cowboys ranked in the middle of the pack in pass defense. But obviously there is room for improvement and cornerback will likely be a position the Dallas front office focuses on early in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Below are five cornerback prospects at the college level worth keeping an eye on:
CB Trae Waynes, redshirt junior, Michigan State (6-1 | 183)
A tough-minded competitor, Waynes is the leader of Michigan State's "No Fly Zone" secondary and has put together a library of impressive game tapes. His eyes are always up and aware, playing with an opportunistic mindset to get his hands on the ball, despite most teams staying away from his side of the field. Although he has the bad habit of freelancing at times and sacrificing technique for the big play, Waynes understands how to gain body position and leverage the field to press receivers with terrific spatial awareness. With NFL teams coveting bigger corners with long arms to match up with the tall trees at wideout in today's game, Waynes has an attractive skill-set and could be the first cornerback drafted if he decides to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, senior, Oregon (5-9 | 195)
The top-ranked senior at the cornerback position for many, Ekpre-Olomu has only average size and speed, but he displays a terrific understanding of the position and pays attention to the details. From a physical standpoint, he has explosive feet and fluid hips, using his quick reflexes to break on the ball and make plays. Ekpre-Olomu also stands out mentally with his ability to read-and-react in a flash, and with 38 starts under his belt, there isn't much he hasn't seen. Although he doesn't have ideal muscle build, Ekpre-Olomu plays with a physical attitude and has the confidence to line up on the outside or inside against slot receivers. He projects as a top-35 prospect.
CB Marcus Peters, redshirt junior, Washington (6-0 | 198)
One of the more fascinating prospects for the 2015 class, Peters has off-the-charts talent, but enters the NFL with some baggage. He was recently dismissed from the Washington football program for several run-ins with the Huskies' coaching staff, which is a bright red flag that requires homework by scouts. On the field, Peters has the height, length and athleticism combination that projects him as a Day 1 starter in the NFL. He plays with a brash, confident nature to shut down receivers, but unfortunately that smug attitude gets him in trouble off the field. A high risk, high reward prospect, Peters has exciting potential, but what is his draft value?
CB D'Joun Smith, senior, Florida Atlantic (5-11 | 190)
Although he plays in a lower conference, Smith has impressed against top-tier talent and put his name on the NFL radar as a junior last season, finishing among the NCAA leaders in passes defended (20) and interceptions (7). He is a speedy athlete with coordinated footwork and controlled lower body movements, using his initial burst to play stick coverage. Smith lacks ideal length and strength and can be out-muscled by receivers at times, but he does a great job using his hands downfield, turning, locating and aggressively attacking the ball with proper timing. He is already considered a top-100 prospect and could help himself more with a positive week at the Senior Bowl.
CB Quandre Diggs, senior, Texas (5-10 | 204)
An Angleton, Texas, native, Diggs arrived in Austin as a top high school recruit and will leave the Longhorns with almost 50 starts under his belt. The younger brother of 12-year NFL veteran and 2002 first round cornerback Quentin Jammer, Diggs needs to improve his eye use and overall anticipation, but there is no questioning his tough, aggressive temperament. He is highly competitive and has been praised for his mental make-up and leadership traits, carrying himself like an extra coach on the practice field and in games. Diggs has experience at inside corner and translates best as a nickel defender in the NFL, probably in the mid-to-late round range.
Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) is the Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.