The solution for who'll replace Anthony Brown remains TBD heading into Week 14, but signing a former second-round pick helps the Cowboys make the competition very interesting
FRISCO, TX — There's a new face heading to the Dallas Cowboys' locker room but, at least for now, it's not Odell Beckham, Jr., whose meeting ended without a deal due to medical and availability concerns. But while the Cowboys were locked in an intense meeting on Day 2 with Beckham, they were also working out Mackensie Alexander to try and find solutions for the loss of starting cornerback Anthony Brown.
Alexander landed a Tuesday workout alongside cornerback Torry McTyer, winning out and signing to the Cowboys practice squad alongside Kendall Sheffield, the latter being another option to help replace Brown.
"Alexander is someone I'm actually very familiar with from [his time] in Minnesota," said McCarthy. "So I think he's an excellent addition. … We'll see how he works today [in practice] — he and Sheffield will be a part of our thought process moving forward."
The familiarity McCarthy is referencing is from Alexander's time spent with the Vikings, which was a fairly substantial chunk of his NFL career after getting the nod as their second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He'd remain in Minnesota through the 2019 season before a one-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020 and, eventually, a return tour with the Vikings in 2021.
His first stint in Minnesota was under the tutelage of current Cowboys' senior defensive assistant George Edwards, former Vikings defensive coordinator, marking a reunion for the two in Dallas — akin to the reunion between Sheffield and incumbent defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (from their time together with the Falcons).
Edwards also wasn't afraid to deploy Alexander as a blitzer in Minnesota, which explains his career-high four sacks in 2018, so keep an eye out for that ability in Dallas.
The lead horse in the race to spell Brown will be Kelvin Joseph though, as expected, the former second-round pick now being thrust onto center stage with a chance to prove he's what the Cowboys hoped for when they drafted him in 2021.
"Yeah, definitely [Joseph gets the first crack at it]," said McCarthy. "I think the way we finished the game [against the Colts] is a way that we'll continue to work, and look at the other combinations."
For now, it'll be Joseph's job to lose, but the competition will also include former third-round pick Nahshon Wright, and both will find themselves pushed by the veteran status of Alexander and Sheffield — two former top picks with a combined 122 NFL games under their belts.
"Nahshon is a part of this, too," McCarthy made clear.
It's a four-pack of players that will be tested over the course of the next two games against the Texans and Jaguars, respectively, as the Cowboys desperately try to keep DaRon Bland in the slot as the definitive 2022 replacement for an injured Jourdan Lewis.
There is much to figure out at the position opposite Trevon Diggs, and not much time to do it before the Eagles fly in on Christmas Eve.