FRISCO, Texas – Somehow, it’s draft season once again.
The offseason is flying by, and the 2019 NFL Draft is set to start in just two short weeks.
This year is different from other ones, as the Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper leaves them without a first-round pick this month. With their first selection coming at pick No. 58, it’s a bit more challenging to identify their options.
Still, by paying attention to their pre-draft movements, it’s possible to get an idea for what the Cowboys are thinking this year. The goal of this series is to identify their targets at the back end of the second round.
The series starts with Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams.
- Name: Joejuan Williams
- Position: CB
- College: Vanderbilt
- Height/Weight: 6-4/ 211 pounds
- Honors: Williams was named second-team All-SEC by both the media and the league’s coaches in 2018.
Key Stat: As might be expected from a Vanderbilt guy, Williams was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll during all three of his seasons with the Commodores.
How’s His Stock: Williams is the classic case of tape versus drills. He was one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC in 2018, tallying 61 tackles, four interceptions and 14 pass breakups for the Commodores. His 6-4, 211-pound frame is also the envy of this cornerback class. However, his 4.64 time in the 40-yard dash raises some question marks for a position that is so dependent on speed. Where Williams gets drafted is going to depend entirely on the team and the scheme that covets him. Judging purely from his tape, it’s possible he’s drafted in the top 50. It’s also possible he slides as far as the third round of the draft. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
How He Could Help: The Cowboys’ need for Williams isn’t obvious in 2019. Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie figure to be the team’s outside corners once again this year. But Jones specifically is entering a contract year, and it could be awfully expensive to retain his services – especially considering the other hefty contracts that need to be signed. If the Cowboys don’t think Jones is part of their long-term future, they could draft Williams to develop in Kris Richard’s defense. He has the length and range that Richard covets, and it’s easy to imagine him transitioning into one of the starting roles as he develops. In the meantime, he’d be a heck of an insurance policy in the secondary.
Scouting Report: The first thing you notice is the long, rangy build. Williams also has good reactions. He can deny the ball with his length. He runs well for his size, but there are times where you see people separate from him. This is a guy you could draft to develop, as his technique needs to be better. He’s not afraid of contact. He will attack the blocker to make a tackle, and he can be a physical tackler. He’s a smart player and will go for the strip. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in the action. There will be questions about his timed speed. You do see separation at times in routes. His ability to beat receivers up is a strength. – Bryan Broaddus