Position Battles: Cornerback Shaping Up As Cowboys' Most Competitive Spot

(Editor's Note: The NFL Draft has come and gone. Now it's time to see what the Cowboys have to work with. The roster is nearly full and that should mean a healthy dose of competition – at all positions. Over the next two weeks, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will focus on each position to find the most intriguing battles as we head into the offseason practices. Today, we continue the series with cornerback.)

Battle To Watch: You name it. Two veteran starters, Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, left in free agency, and the Cowboys just devoted second- and third-round draft picks toward replacing them. Suddenly, cornerback seems arguably the deepest and most wide-open spot on the roster:

  • Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are top talents who can play multiple spots, outside and inside.
  • Last year's sixth-round pick, Anthony Brown, showed promise in nine starts last year and also made a successful transition to the slot when needed.
  • Free agent signing Nolan Carroll (54 career starts) and 10th-year veteran Orlando Scandrick have the most experience.

It's a great problem to have. The offseason, training camp and preseason will determine the best rotation. But if history is any guide, the Cowboys will need all of them in a division with proven quarterbacks and improved receiver play.

Don't Forget About: Scandrick. Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones flatly denied a national report on draft weekend that the Cowboys looked to trade Scandrick on draft weekend, calling him "a valuable member of our team." Indeed, Scandrick quietly is the Cowboys' longest-tenured defender. The 30-year-old corner dealt with nagging injuries last year coming off an ACL tear that wiped out his entire 2015 season. At full strength, he's been a starter on the outside and the best slot corner on the team. Lewis, the team's third-round pick, played all three corner spots at Michigan and at 5-10, 188, he might be best suited for the slot starting out. But remember this about Scandrick: the old adage is players typically return to form the year after they return from an ACL injury, and he's one of the most competitive guys on the roster.

Bubble Watch: It's barely May, so it's very early in the game. Every player has a chance to win a spot and even the most experienced players will have to earn their spot. But for now, here's how an unofficial depth chart might look:

Locks:
Orlando Scandrick
Anthony Brown
Nolan Carroll
Chidobe Awuzie
Jourdan Lewis

Contenders:
Marquez White
Leon McFadden

Long Shots:
Sammy Seamster
Jeremiah McKinnon
Duke Thomas

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