(Editor's Note: This is the third of an 11-part series analyzing every position on the Cowboys roster, providing a quick look back before addressing the needs of each spot on the field and how it can be improved heading into the 2014 season. Today we examine the cornerbacks.)
2013 Evaluation: The Cowboys had high expectations for the cornerback position this year and needless to say, there was major disappointment. The best player at the position was Orlando Scandrick, who even got himself a contract extension in the middle of the season. Scandrick also got the starting job from Morris Claiborne and didn't give it back once Claiborne came back from injury. He'll likely head into the offseason and training camp as a starter as well. But after Brandon Carr sealed a Week 1 win over the Giants with an interception return for a TD, his season went downhill. Giving up 329 yards to Calvin Johnson in a 31-30 loss to the Lions was a rough outing for Carr, who also struggled in games this year against bigger receivers, along with Pierre Garcon and even former Cowboys receiver Andre Holmes.
Need More From … This could be a tie here, but ultimately, this team needs a lot more from their first-round pick in 2012. Morris Claiborne has not lived up to the expectations, and he definitely took a step back in 2013 after a solid and promising rookie year. But getting hurt too often and then not beating out Scandrick are reasons to have concern here. But not far behind would be Brandon Carr, who certainly took a step back last year and had a few games in which he struggled mightily.
Upgrades Needed:This is one position that likely won't see a big overhaul this year. With the salary cap situation the Cowboys are in, and the contracts they've paid out to Carr, Scandrick and Claiborne, the club has to hope the biggest change at the position involves the overall play and production. Sure, the Cowboys could use some younger depth and that's what they tried to get with B.W. Webb. Let's see if he comes back as a more polished player in 2014. And perhaps Sterling Moore gets into the equation again, or maybe a later-round draft pick. But don't expect major changes here in terms of personnel.
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By The Numbers:
- 2013 marked the first year in seven seasons that a Cowboys cornerback did not lead or at least share the team lead in interceptions. Sean Lee's four led the Cowboys, with Brandon Carr second with three.
- Morris Claiborne had one interception in 2013, picking off Denver's Peyton Manning, who only threw 10 overall.
- Carr and Scandrick ranked fourth and fifth on the defense this year in tackles with 74 and 70 stops, respectively.
- Carr played 16 consecutive games for the sixth straight season, extending his current games/starts streak to 96 games.
Bryan Broaddus takes a look at the Cowboys' cornerbacks:
For Brandon Carr, it was a season that he soon would forget. His play was far too inconsistent with games where he didn't appear as he was anywhere near the receiver in coverage, then others like back-to-back games against the Redskins and Eagles where he played with a shutdown ability, but the Lions game the following week, was a nightmare for him. (Read more here)