FRISCO, Texas – You might say Chidobe Awuzie is getting a little of the Byron Jones treatment right now.
Like the Cowboys' 2015 first-round pick did two years ago, the 2017 second-round pick is practicing at multiple spots in his first NFL offseason: outside corner, inside corner and dime linebacker, which essentially functions as a safety and allows the defense to get another cover guy on the field against multi-receiver sets.
"He's doing it all," Cowboys secondary coach Joe Baker said. "He's remarkable. He's playing corner, nickel and dime. He's going to be really valuable to us."
Jones' position flex is well-documented by now. He alternated between corner and safety during his rookie season before settling in as the starting free safety.
"I don't know if we've asked him to do all of that as quickly as we've asked Chido to do it," Baker said of Jones. "But Byron was pretty similar in that way."
Over time, the Cowboys would likely prefer to let Awuzie, also a combo defensive back in college, focus on one position too.
But here in June, there's nothing wrong with exposing rookies to different roles and opportunities. The Cowboys have a much younger secondary than last season. Awuzie, third-round pick Jourdan Lewis and sixth-round picks Xavier Woods and Marquez White are all competing for spots and snaps.
"Certain guys you put a little more on like Chido because he has the versatility and the intelligence to handle it," Baker said. "Most guys are playing one or two positions and that's just going to help us down the road because you just never know at the end what the group's going to look like. It's nice to know if a guy has to go play nickel in Week 12, he at least has a foundation to go in there and have a chance to be successful."