(Editor's Note: The staff of DallasCowboys.com is currently previewing the depth chart at each position on the Cowboys' roster. The biggest remaining variable in determining that depth chart is the NFL draft, which begins April 28. This series will identify five potential draft picks who could affect the depth chart at each position.)
IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys have selected a cornerback in the first round twice in the last four years, including Byron Jones with the 27th pick last year.
However, that stat could be somewhat misleading, depending on the Cowboys' decision to possibly move Jones to safety. Either way, cornerback is always a top priority, no matter what round.
The Cowboys have taken a cornerback – somewhere in the draft – for the last nine years, dating back to the 2006 NFL Draft.
So with that in mind, here are some possible fits at cornerback for the Cowboys. Let's look at five:
1. Jalen Ramsey, Florida State –Some teams have him listed as a safety, but if the Cowboys were to draft him at No. 4, expect him to start out at cornerback, a position that is easier to justify taking that high. Ramsey has great ball skills and range, mostly because of his length. The 6-1, 210-pounder has the size to play either position, but cornerback will probably be his best fit, at least for the Cowboys.
2. Xavien Howard, Baylor –If the Cowboys don't go corner in the first round, and players such as Eli Apple and William Jackson are off the board as expected, Howard could be a viable second-round option at No. 34. Howard decided to skip his senior season and declare for the draft, and has been somewhat of an unknown prospect that has picked up steam here lately. He's got good size and quickness and has the ability to be a press-corner but has shown the ability to get picks as well.
3. Ryan Smith, N.C. Central –A small-school prospect who could be a good mid-round pick, maybe as high as the third round. Smith has plenty of speed and quickness that he needs to prove can translate from the lower ranks to the NFL. But athletically, his numbers are solid, including a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash.
4. Maurice Canady, Virginia–Another good-sized cornerback who played four seasons at Virginia, starting the last 24 games of his career. The Cowboys got to see him up-close at the Senior Bowl, coaching him on the North Squad. Canady plays close to the line of scrimmage, getting tackles for loss and even a pair of sacks as a sophomore. But he's still got ball-hawking skills that could make him a potential starter with some development.
5. Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma –Originally recruited to play receiver in college, Sanchez isn't your typical corner with average hands. He picked off 15 passes in three seasons, including seven last year. Sanchez also stays on the field, starting all 37 games of his collegiate career before deciding to turn pro after his junior year. Being from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Sanchez was able to participate in the Cowboys' Dallas Day practice at the stadium last week, giving the coaches and scouts an even better look. With three picks in the sixth round, this is a spot that could fit Sanchez if he's still around.